Four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome said he was positive about competing at this year's race after Primoz Roglic clinched the overall lead of the Criterium du Dauphine by winning Thursday's second stage.
Froome, who was involved in a high-speed crash at last year's Criterium which almost cost the Team Ineos rider his career and sidelined him for six months, finished in 49th place, 8 minutes 32 seconds behind Jumbo-Visma's Roglic.
Reports in French and Italian media over the weekend claimed Froome's selection by Ineos for the Tour, which starts on August 29, was under threat with the 35-year-old joining Israel Start-Up Nation at the end of the season.
"Obviously I'm still finding the race rhythm but I'm feeling better and better as I do more days of racing. I'm feeling optimistic about the Tour," Froome said.
"It's incredible to be back in the peloton, but keeping in mind I've only had a handful of days racing in over a year's time now," he added.
Slovenian Roglic attacked 650 metres from the finish line to leave France's Thibaut Pinot in second spot and Germany's Emanuel Buchmann in third.
Vuelta a Espana champion Roglic is 12 seconds ahead of Groupama–FDJ rider Pinot in the overall standings, and a further two seconds ahead of Bora–Hansgrohe's Buchmann.
Tour champion and Froome's Ineos team-mate Egan Bernal sits fourth in the overall rankings after finishing 10 seconds back in 10th on Thursday.
"It's a great result for our team... We all knew about the hard climb at the finish and we started to control the race from the beginning," Roglic said.
"The guys are really strong so they managed it perfectly and in the end, I was happy to be able to win this."
By the time Roglic crossed the line rain had started to fall, and not long after a powerful hail storm described by Start-Up Nation as "worse than anything we experienced" crashed down on the remaining riders.
"The scene was total chaos and mayhem... riders running for cover, hit hard by icy mini ping pong balls," the team said on Twitter.
Some riders had to get off the bikes and walk to the finish as huge hail stones crashed down and quickly left the road covered in ice.
Jumbo-Visma's Tony Martin was saved by a trackside fan who handed him an inflated rubber raft to protect himself from the falling ice balls.
Riders including Belgian Tim Declercq posted photos on social media of their backs covered in red marks caused by the downfall.
This season's Dauphine has been shortened and moved due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Friday's 157-kilometre (97.5-mile) third stage heads east from Corenc near Grenoble to the Alpine village of Saint-Martin-de-Belleville
1. Primoz Roglic (SLO/JUM) 3hr 39min 40sec, 2. Thibaut Pinot (FRA/FDJ) at 8sec, 3. Emanuel Buchmann (GER/BOR) same time, 4. Guillame Martin (FRA/COF) s.t., 5. Nairo Quintana (COL/ARK) at 10sec, 6. Miguel Angel Lopez (COL/AST) s.t., 7. Daniel Martinez (COL/EF1) s.t., 8. Mikel Landa (ESP/BAH) s.t., 9. Richie Porte (AUS/TRE) s.t., 10. Egan Bernal (COL/INE) s.t.
13. Romain Bardet (FRA/ALM) at 59sec, 32. Geraint Thomas (GBR/INE) at 2min 53sec, 49. Chris Froome (GBR/INE) at 8min 32sec
1. Primoz Roglic (SLO/JUM) 9hr 7min 12sec, 2. Thibaut Pinot (FRA/FDJ) at 12sec, 3. Emanuel Buchmann (GER/BOR) 14, 4. Egan Bernal (COL/INE) 16, 5. Guillame Martin (FRA/COF) 18, 6. Nairo Quintana (COL/ARK) 20, 7. Richie Porte (AUS/TRE) same time, 8. Mikel Landa (ESP/BAH) s.t., 9. Miguel Angel Lopez (COL/AST) s.t., 10. Daniel Martinez (COL/EF1) s.t.