Tour de France

Hunger and desire as strong as ever - Froome

2016-07-19 13:37
Chris Froome (Getty)

Hilterfinger - Chris Froome insists he still has the hunger and desire to keep on dominating the Tour de France for years to come.

Speaking from his hotel in Switzerland on the second and final Tour rest day on Tuesday, the 31-year-old Briton claimed to be as determined as ever to succeed.

"If anything, I feel this year has demonstrated how much I still have that hunger and that desire to win this race," he said.

"From the first two weeks I feel I've really taken every opportunity possible. I've attacked on a descent, I've attacked in crosswinds, I time-trialed as hard as I can to be in this position.

"It feels like I'm giving this race my all and it means so much to me."

Froome's daring descent on Stage 7 gave him his only stage win of the Tour so far and earnt 23 seconds over most of his rivals.

Another surprise move on stage 11 saw him take advantage of strong winds to get another 12 seconds, while he took the majority of time out of his rivals on the stage 13 time-trial last Friday.

And whereas during his two previous Tour victories in 2013 and last year, Froome was "hanging on" in the final week as his main rival Nairo Quintana launched a comeback, this time around the Kenyan-born Briton says he's getting stronger.

"Coming into this last week, myself personally I feel more ready for this third week than in previous editions," he said.

"Starting this season later helped that, having a quieter run-in to the Tour helped that. My personal ambition is to be at my best in the third week of this race and I think I'm on track for that."

This year's Tour has failed to spark into life so far and Froome believes one reason for that is the effect of "fatigue" on riders due to hard racing throughout the first two weeks.

It's left Froome with a healthy advantage on his rivals, thanks in no small part to his solid time-trial performance, and he is not expecting to need to go on the attack over the next four stages in the Alps, where he believes the Tour will be won or lost.

"As it stands I've got almost three minutes on Quintana (2:59) and close to two minutes on Mollema (1:47).

"Obviously, if I'm going to attack I need a good reason for it, I'm not just going to attack for the sake of attacking.

"We need to think about all the efforts that we're making. It is at the back of everybody's minds, these next four days are just so hard any energy spent until now that's unnecessarily spent, that's going to take away from what we have to spend these next four days."

Froome dismissed suggestions his rivals have been passive and unwilling to make a mark on the relentless tempo set by his Sky team-mates on climbs.

Although so far no-one has managed to get away from the group of favourites, Froome feels he has come under attack, just not from the person everyone was expecting.

"I think the race has been that hard. People say that the guys didn't attack two stages ago (stage 15) but actually (Fabio) Aru attacked, (Alejandro) Valverde attacked, Romain Bardet attacked -- the only guy who didn't was Nairo Quintana.

"I think that's who everyone was waiting for to attack, other people tried and they're going to keep trying."

Read more on:    tdf 2016  |  chris froome  |  cycling

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