Geraint Thomas insists he is going to enjoy his Tour de France defence

Champion concedes the absence of Chris Froome leaves a big hole in this year’s Tour de France but describes his Team Ineos co-leader Egan Barnel as a ‘massive talent’

‘“I’ve got nothing to prove to anyone,” says Geraint Thomas, his baritone lilt failing to mask an unexpectedly spiky dash of defiance. “If I end up as a one-hit wonder, it’s still a pretty good hit to have. A lot of guys just dream of riding the Tour de France. I have won it.”

That answer comes after a light barrage of questions about the defending champion’s fitness and form going into this year’s race, which begins in Brussels on Saturday. It comes before a deeper probe into whether the amiable 33-year-old Welshman has the mindset to back up last year’s epic yellow jersey victory by claiming multiple grand tours.

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