Eddy Merckx predicts Froome domination for years

Chris Froome opened up a seemingly insurmountable lead of more than four minutes over his closest challenger at the Tour de France after stage 19. With only one Alpine stage remain before Sunday’s mostly ceremonial finish on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, Froome is very close to his third victory in the greatest cycling race.

“He deserves his win. He’s the strongest,” said Merckx, a five-time Tour winner. “I can’t see what could prevent him from keeping this yellow jersey until Paris. His opponents just stay on his teammates’ wheels. Barring an incident, nobody can beat him in this Tour.”

“That’s a huge compliment coming from Eddy,” Froome said. “Obviously we feel like we’re in a bit of a bubble in the race here. But to have somebody like that give a compliment like that is a great honor.”

“Chris is a very great champion,” added Merckx. “He can win more (Tours). If you look at the guys behind him, I don’t know who can beat him in the next years.

“He’s complete. He’s a good time triallist, he’s good at ascents, he’s overall. He’s the best of the moment and his team-mates are as strong as his rivals.”