Colombian rider Egan Bernal is being backed to shine at the 2019 Tour de France, especially in the absence of Team Ineos star Chris Froome.
The 22-year-old joined Team Sky (now team Ineos) in 2018 and was quickly drafted into their TDF squad.
With Froome ruled out of this year’s edition of the famous due to injury, Bernal is set to be a key man alongside last year’s champion Geraint Thomas.
"They've been talking about him since he won the Tour de L'Avenir two years ago," Tour de France chief Christian Prudhomme told Agence France-Presse.
"Then at Paris-Nice in March, Bernal took the yellow jersey and was presented with it by [all time great] Eddy Merckx.
Bernal relishing chance for second Tour de France
"It was a hugely significant moment, and made one think about what might come in the future, and now the future is coming, it's this July."
Prudhomme pointed out that it was 50 years since Merckx won his first Tour, and that he felt maybe Bernal could take up the baton of the great Belgian.
"I also noted how marvellously polite he is," Prudhomme said of the Bernal.
"Of course he's brilliantly talented too, there's no doubt about it.
"There is the question of how will he do over three long weeks with the colossal pressure that you can't imagine until you actually have the yellow jersey on your back. I'm not sure how he might feel.
"But I can tell you that last year, in the final week he was still there, at just 21 years old, helping Chris Froome at altitudes over 2,000m."
On Saturday, Bernal starts on his second major tour where he can become the youngest post-war winner of the Tour, 100 years after the introduction of the yellow jersey and 50 years after Merckx won his first Tour.