Froome: This is Sky's strongest ever Tour de France team
Chris Froome believes he will launch the defence of his Tour de France title in Leeds alongside the best Team Sky squad ever assembled - even without Sir Bradley Wiggins.
The 29-year-old will be supported by Richie Porte, Bernhard Eisel, Vasil Kiryienka, David Lopez, Mikel Nieve, Danny Pate, Geraint Thomas and Xabier Zandio over the next three weeks, with Wiggins' non-selection a disappointment to his legion of fans.
Froome was adamant he had no role in the omission of Wiggins, the 2012 champion, from Team Sky's nine-man squad for the race, which begins in Leeds on Saturday.
"Just to make it absolutely clear, I do not have a role in selection," said Froome, who has had past disagreements with Wiggins.
"I do speak to (Team Sky principal Sir) Dave Brailsford about generally the group of guys I've been racing with, but, if you look at how a Tour team is generally selected, the guys doing a Tour will be doing altitude camps together, racing together as a group.
"The team that I have got around me, I would say it is probably the strongest team that Team Sky has fielded at the Tour de France.
"We are ready for this. I know each and every one of us are going to give it our absolute all for the next three weeks."