International Cycling

Froome thrilled by TDF route

2013-10-23 17:11
Geraint Thomas congratulating Chris Froome (Getty Images)

Paris - Reigning champion Chris Froome has said he was delighted by the 2014 Tour de France route, despite it seemingly favouring pure climbers.

Froome stormed to victory in this year's race by more than four minutes, hammering home his superiority over his rivals notably in the time-trials where he was imperious.

However, he also sparkled in the mountain stages, particularly early on, before he eventually lost time to Nairo Quintana and Joaquim Rodriguez late on when both were already too far behind to hope to challenge him for overall success.

And having seen the route, revealed on Wednesday by organisers Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) at a presentation ceremony in Paris, including five summit finishes and a 54km time-trial, Froome said he was delighted.

Yet despite featuring just the one time-trial, as opposed to the two individual trials and one team time-trial this year when there was also one fewer summit finish, Froome still thinks the course will favour him, rather than the likes of Quintana or Alberto Contador.

"We've got five mountain top finishes, that's more than this year. That's a good thing for me and also with the penultimate stage being a 50+ kilometre individual time-trial, that's something that suits me," said Froome.

"So, yes, I'm getting excited about the prospect of taking on next year's Tour."

If there is one worry, it's the cobblestones on the fifth stage from Ypres in Belgium to Arenberg Porte du Hainaut, although Froome says he is not concerned about losing time over that section, merely of being able to stay out of trouble.

"Cobblestones add to (the excitement) by adding an aspect we're not used to in the Tour de France," said the 28-year-old Team Sky rider.

"I don't think it will be too different, we still have to go away and analyse the route and build the team around it.

"I don't see anything that takes it too far away from this year's Tour, apart from the aspect of not having the team time-trial in next year's route.

"I haven't done much on cobblestones, it's going to be a challenge and that's something we'll have to look at specifically and prepare for specifically.

"I don't think I'm any worse than Nairo Quintana or Alberto Contador on the cobbles. I probably won't be able to follow the likes of Fabian Cancellara or Tom Boonen, but as long as I'm within the group of the GC riders, or it could even be somewhere we take time.

"It's an exciting challenge to take on."

Froome succeeded compatriot Bradley Wiggins as Tour winner after the Olympic time-trial champion was forced to pull out of his defence due to illness and injury.

Wiggins has already stated his intention to return to track cycling in 2015 but has yet to commit either way for next year's Tour.

If he does decide to take part, Froome is confident he will have no issues with working for the current champion.

"At the end of the day, the team's always going to select the nine strongest guys to go to the Tour with the best possible chance of winning it.

"If Bradley's in that nine or not would be for the performance team to decide, but I don't see any reason why he wouldnt be there."

For another fellow-Briton, sprint ace Mark Cavendish, the Tour starting with a flat stage in Yorkshire provides him with an ideal opportunity to try to snatch the yellow jersey in his home country.

"It's super important, it's the second time in my career the Tour de France is coming to the UK. It's a massive honour to be a part of it," said the Manxman.

"The first stage finishes in my mother's home town (Harrogate). A lot of my family still live there, I spent much time as a child there so to be able to try and win the stage and get the yellow jersey there, it's big."

Read more on:    tdf  |  chris froome  |  cycling


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