Chris Froome unsure of Tour de France participation

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Chris Froome unsure of Tour de France participation

Former champion admits route, announced this morning, is not as suited to him as the Giro d'Italia

Chris Froome admitted he is unsure if he will ride the 2015 Tour de France after the route was unveiled in Paris this morning.

In an article published on his personal website, 2013 champion Froome – speaking from Team Sky’s team building camp in Weymouth – is unsure the route suits his characteristics.

Chris Froome admitted on his personal website he is unsure whether he will start next year’s Tour de France (pic: Sirotti)

With just one individual time trial, a short 14km route in Utrecht on the first stage, and a strong focus on the mountains with seven mountainous stages and five major summit finishes, the route appears more suited to the likes of Nairo Quintana (Movistar).

It is in stark contrast to the Giro d’Italia route, which offers a much more balanced route – including a big individual time trial – and Froome admitted he could well target an assault on the Corsa Rosa and Vuelta a Espana instead.

“There’s no two ways about it, next year’s Tour is going to be about the mountains,” the 29-year-old said. “There’s very little emphasis on time trialling which means the race will be decided up in the high mountains.

“The team and I will have to give it some careful consideration before we make any commitments to which of the Grand Tours I will compete in.

“I see myself as quite a balanced GC rider and the Giro, with its inclusion of a long TT of 60km and tough uphill finishes, will be a well-balanced race which suits me well.

“If I did the Giro I may also be able to get myself back to top shape for the Vuelta and go there with a realistic chance of aiming for the win too.”

Froome’s comments will be a blow to Tinkoff-Saxo’s ambition of having the major Grand Tour contenders compete in all three of the three-week races this year.

But Froome – who is keen to start planning his 2015 season – believes the Russian-backed team’s leader, Alberto Contador, will be the man to beat if he is on the Tour de France start line.

Froome crashed out of the 2014 Tour, which he started as defending champion, before Vincenzo Nibalu went on to win the yellow jersey (pic: Sirotti)

“In the past I’ve only targeted one grand tour each season but it could be a good opportunity for me to focus seriously on two,” he said.

“It’s still early days though and we’ll have to sit down and put our heads together as a team to work out what 2015 is going to look like for us.

“We’ll have to see who’s going to be there but I think Alberto Contador will be the man to beat. You can never discount the likes of Nairo Quintana, Vincenzo Nibali and other GC contenders like Purito [Rodriguez] and [Alejandro] Valverde.

“Alberto is the guy who stands out though. He came back after his injury in an amazing way to win the Vuelta España title this year and I expect him to be just as strong next season.”

Froome also down-played the inclusion of cobbles on the Tour de France route – the second consecutive year they will feature.

The Kenyan-born Brit had admitted he was wary of the pavé last year, but in the event crashed out on stage five before the race had hit the first of the cobbled secteurs.

He said: “I actually quite enjoy the challenge of riding on the cobbles. It’s a difficult and stressful obstacle for us to overcome when it’s part of a race like the Tour de France, but we’re all in the same boat and there’s no reason why I’d be any worse off than any of the other GC contenders.”

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