Froome intends to fight for multiple Tour de France victories
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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Froome intends to fight for multiple Tour de France victories

by VeloNation Press at 9:02 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
“To be here the yellow jersey at the Tour de France, the biggest event on our cycling an amazing feeling.”

Chris FroomeSet to end the Tour on Sunday with the biggest winning margin in nine years, Chris Froome has said that he is not satisfied with one yellow jersey in Paris, but instead wants to keep chasing that goal for several seasons to come.

Unlike team-mate Bradley Wiggins, who he finished second to last year, Froome is vying to clock up repeated wins in cycling’s biggest event.

In contrast, Wiggins has indicated that he is unlikely to line out in the event again as a contender. It is unclear if he intends even starting the race in the future.

However for Froome, clocking up a second, third or even more wins is a major motivation.

“I would love to come back and keep targeting the Tour every year,” he said after Sunday’s penultimate stage. “I am 28 now. Most cyclists come into their prime around their early 30s. I would love to come back and keep contending for the Tour as long as I can, and as long as I have the motivation.”

Froome finished second last year, holding back on more than one occasion for Wiggins, but this year led the Sky team and was clearly its number one rider. He seized yellow with a dominant win on stage eight to Ax 3 Domaines and then defended it from that point.

Third on Saturday’s stage to Annecy Semnoz, he gave up 29 seconds to a rampaging Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and eleven to Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha). However he finished ahead of all of his other rivals, and ended the day five minutes and three seconds clear of Quintana in the overall standings.

Barring misfortune Sunday, it means that he will win his first Tour de France on the Champs Elysees.

“For me, what this represents is the journey I've taken to get here from where I've started, riding on a little mountain bike on dirt roads in Kenya,” he said, talking about his origins and what he has done in the years since. “To be here the yellow jersey at the Tour de France, the biggest event on our cycling's difficult for me to put into words. This is an amazing feeling. Absolutely amazing.”

Having previously finishing second in the 2011 Vuelta a España and also netting the runner-up slot in last year’s Tour, Froome now gets the chance to stand on the top step of the podium. He’ll savour the success more because of those near misses, and also because of the battle from the start in Corsica three weeks ago to the finish in Paris on Sunday.

“This really has been an amazing journey for me. The race has been a fight every single day. Crosswinds, rain, good days in the mountains, bad days in the mountains... on one occasion I was riding on my own to the finish, on others I was surrounded by team-mates all the way.”

“This Tour really has had everything thrown as us. It is only fitting for the 100th edition that it really has been special.”

Froome was born in Africa and raced for several years there before heading to Europe. He had a solid early career, with his main results including wins in the Mi Août Bretonne and the Giro delle Riogioni in 2007, second overall in the Giro del Capo the following season and fifth in the time trial at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

However nothing pointed to his breakthrough in 2011 when, in his second season with Team Sky, he won a stage and finished second overall in the Vuelta a España.

Given that he had finished a quiet 47th in the Tour de Suisse, 45th in the Brixia Tour and 85th in the Tour of Poland prior to that race, his Spanish showing was of major surprise to most, his team included. However he said that he always had hoped to excel in Grand Tours.

“When I first joined Team Sky, they asked me what my aspirations were and what I wanted to achieve. Being able to target the Tour de France was one of those longer term goals but to be sitting here three years later in yellow the day before the Tour goes to Paris... I'm not sure if I'd ever see that happen,” he said.

“The first time that I thought, ‘okay, I could become a GC rider for a race like the Tour de France' was at the 2011 Vuelta a España. Up until then I'd have good days and showings of what I was able to achieve. But that Vuelta gave me a lot of confidence and belief in myself and that, actually, I do belong in this group of riders at the front of general classification.”

However that rapid rise as a Grand Tour rider, his domination of this year’s Tour and climbing times on certain ascents that were as quick as Lance Armstrong in the past led to some raised eyebrows this year. It meant he has faced questions from some sections of the media, as well as much speculation on social media.

Simply put, those concerned wanted to know if he could be trusted. Responding in recent days, Team Sky said that they would release biological passport and power data to WADA, although that agency has since said it is not within its mandate to scrutinise and validate it.

UK Anti Doping has also indicated the same.

It remains to be seen if the team will offer the data to other experts.

“It's definitely been a challenge. Whoever was in this position, whoever was in the yellow jersey, would have come under scrutiny,” said Froome, referring to the fallout from the Armstrong investigation. “I'm also one of those guys who was let down by this sport but we're willing to do whatever it takes to show people that the sport is doing what it can to turn things around.’

That stress aside, Froome was clear what was the worst moment for him, the point where he felt that there was a danger that the race could slip away. “It was probably on Alpe d'Huez when I could feel like I was completely flat of energy,” he stated, referring back to Thursday’s stage.

“If you've ridden a bike you'll know the feeling I'm talking about when you have no more energy and you see a sign saying five kilometres left... it's a really hard thing to try and get through physically and mentally. Thankfully I had my team-mate Richie Porte with me and he gave me a lot of motivation.”

Porte also gave him a couple of energy gels, something which leaded to a twenty second penalty but which saved him from even bigger time losses at a crucial point the race.

Things were more straightforward on Saturday’s penultimate stage, where he jumped clear on the final climb and was joined by only Quintana and Rodriguez. The other riders, including the previous second-placed Alberto Contador, all cracked and lost time.

While Quintana and Rodriguez finally gapped Froome towards the summit, the Briton knew that his lead was far more than was needed and the Tour win was safe.

It was a massive relief. “In those last couple of kilometres, I had an overwhelming feeling of, 'I have actually done this, I am in yellow, this is the last days for the GC', and no one was going to take that away from me,” he said.

“It was a very emotional feeling…just that greater realization of what I have achieved here.”


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