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Having strongly hinted that he might shift his priority from the Tour de France to the Giro d’Italia in 2015, Chris Froome has now reversed that stance and confirmed that he will once again focuss fully on the Tour next season.
The 2013 winner crashed out of this year’s race, suffering fractures to his wrist and hand. He then returned to place second overall in the Vuelta a España, but was discouraged when the Tour de France route was unveiled and shown to include very little time trial kilometres.
The race features only one individual test, the 14 kilometre opening time trial in Utrecht, the Netherlands. It also includes a team time trial of 28 kilometres between Vannes and Plumelec.
Froome would normally have expected to have gained time on many of his rivals against the clock. That said, his 2013 victory was based mainly on his performances on the climbs. He took stage wins at
“Together with the team, we’ve had to prioritise some events over others, but the Tour will remain my main focus for 2015,” he confirmed on Tuesday.
Thoughts of targeting the Giro-Tour double will have to wait for another season. “The concept of doing all three Grand Tours in a season has got appeal but having said that, I know how hard it is to do two Grand Tours while targeting the overall win,” he explained.
“At this point in my career I feel that the Tour takes priority. There may come a time at some point down the line where other races may take preference, but for 2015, it’s the Tour.”
The news is unsurprising; while the Giro d’Italia is a major event, the Tour has a much higher profile in Britain. The team sponsor Sky will want to maximise publicity and knows that a Tour Maillot Jaune would earn considerably more attention than the final Maglia Rosa in the Giro.
Froome had previously said that he wanted to try to win multiple Tours. He said that he is taking nothing for granted about what would be a second overall victory in the race.
“There is no doubt that this Tour de France is going to be a tough test, but I enjoy the challenge and there’s no reason why I would be any worse off than any of the other contenders,” he said. “It is our responsibility as a team to adapt accordingly so that we can be as competitive as possible there.”
The dearth of time trial kilometre means that he plans to change his build-up for the race.
“It’s a climbers’ Tour next year so I’m going to have to work extra hard in the mountains and spend less time on practising time trialling,” he said. “It’s also going to be important to be as light as possible so our nutrition will play a key role. There will be new tests for me as an individual, that’s what I’m looking forward to.”
Froome is currently training in South Africa, taking advantage of the warm weather there. He has indicated that he is likely to begin his season on February 18 at the Ruta del Sol in Spain.