Chris Froome and his Barloworld team mates got home at two thirty in the morning after Sunday?s final stage of the Tour of the Mediterranean but not even a lack of sleep and tired legs could dampen his satisfaction after finishing third on the decisive stage to the summit of Mont Faron.

Froome is only 23 and in his second year as a professional but quickly confirmed the huge potential he showed in last year?s Tour de France with a classy ride on the steep road to the summit. The Kenyan-born Brit finished 13 seconds behind stage winner David Moncoutie, with team mate Mauricio Soler second at just seconds.

?Third is a good result but it would have been nicer if one of us had taken the win,? Froome told Cycling Weekly before he set off for a recovery ride from his base in Chiari, near Brescia.

?Mauricio attacked after about a kilometre and got a gap. I was a bit too far back at the start of the climb but I hit the front after 2km and went after Moncoutie. We caught Mauricio with about a kilometre to go but then Moncoutie accelerated again with three hundred to go and I wasn?t able to go with him.?

Froome spent most of the winter training at altitude in Johannesburg but was surprised to perform so well after doing little high-end intensity training.

?It shows my base fitness is there for the first race of the season and hopefully the rest of the season,? he said.

Giro d’Italia invitation

Barloworld manager Claudio Corti is hoping that the team?s early season results will help secure a place in the Giro d?Italia, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo and perhaps even the Tour of Flanders. The team was awarded wild card status last week by the UCI and so unlike riders at LPR, CSF Group, Amica Chips and Xacobeo Galicia, all the riders in the team are part of the biological passport anti-doping system.

The team has taken six top-three in the last week. Robbie Hunter won stage four at the Tour of the Mediterranean and was second in two others, while neo-pro Michele Merlo also finished third in the opening stage of the Giro della Provincia di Grosseto. Thanks to some strong turns by Steve Cummings and Geraint Thomas, Barloworld was third in the team time trial at the Tour of the Mediterranean.

?Hopefully it has shown the race organisers that we?re competitive and that we deserve a place in the big races. I?d love to ride the Giro,? Froome said.

His next race will be Saturday?s Trofeo Laigueglia in Italy, where he will again ride with Soler and Cummings, who finished second in the Trofeo Laigueglia in 2006. Froome then heads to South Africa where he will be a key part of the Barloworld team for the Giro del Capo stage race.

There will be a special interview feature on British Barloworld riders Chris Froome, Steve Cummings and Geraint Thomas in Thursday’s Cycling Weekly.

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