By Nick Bull
Chris Froome insists he is very much his own man as he prepares to lead Team Sky at this year's Tour de France.
Barring accident, Froome go into the 2013 Tour as the team's number one rider, but speaking to journalists at the Sky media day in Majorca last week, he said he has no plans to copy anybody else's style of leadership.
"I wouldn't call myself a natural leader, I was a prefect at school for whatever that counts," he joked.
"I don't like to try and be like somebody else. I am who I am. I'm not going to change who I am just because I'm in a different position within the team. I'm not a dictator, I won't say 'it has to be like this'."
Froome's top-level leadership experience is restricted, with his only real encounter with the role coming at last year's Vuelta.
Having suffered against the explosive climbing style of Alberto Contador and Joaquim Rodriguez during that race, the 27-year-old has identified this as the area on which he needs to improve before this summer.
"I need to work specifically on being able to recover from a hard effort; not recovering at an easy pace, recovering at a significant pace. That's something I'll be trying over the next few months," he admitted.
There will be plenty of opportunity for him to do so: Froome will start his 2013 season alongside Bradley Wiggins in the Tour of Oman (February 11-16), before heading to a team training camp currently scheduled to be held in Tenerife.
From there he will race Tirreno-Adriatico (March 6-12), Tour of Romandy (April 23-28) and the Critérium du Dauphiné (June 2-9).
Froome predictably lists Contador (second from right) as one of his main rivals for the 2013 Tour
Comparing his schedule to 2012, Froome said: "I'm still doing Romandy and Dauphiné - it's more the start that is different. I think they are good changes; Tirreno has longer changes than Paris-Nice, hopefully better weather and it's good preparation for what's coming up."
Wiggins rode like a man possessed in the early months of 2012, winning three of the six stage races he rode in preparation for the Tour. Froome admitted that he is hopeful of achieving a similar hit rate.
"I'd definitely like to get a few results in the build-up, but I'm not going to make the early season the be all and end all of the build-up to the Tour," he said.
"Those races will give us an indication of where my form is at the team as opposed to getting a result out of them. A result in [the Tour of] Oman for example would be great, but I'm not going to feel like I've failed if I don't."
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