Chris Froome: Sky are backing me for the Tour de France

Chris Froome at finish, Vuelta a Espana 2012, stage 17

Sky's Chris Froome is still aiming to win next year's Tour de France despite Bradley Wiggins' comments that he wants to defend his 2012 title. Wiggins said on Sunday that he wants to try to win the Giro d'Italia-Tour double.

"The team are saying they are going to back me with the Tour this [next] year. That's directly from Dave. He [Brailsford] said: 'You're our man for the Tour. Focus on it," Froome told the Times newspaper today.

"It's my hope and intention to be the Team Sky team leader at next year's Tour de France. I feel I have shown in my last three grand tour rides that I would definitely be a contender to win the 2013 Tour de France and the route plays to my strengths. That is my target."

The 100th edition of the Tour de France starts in Corsica and leans heavily on the mountains, going up the famed Alpe d'Huez twice in one day.

This year's Tour featured just over 100 kilometres of time trials with the short prologue and two long, 50km tests. Wiggins gained his lead over Froome in the time trials, finishing in Paris with 3-21 minutes over Froome and 6-19 minutes over Italian Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale).

Wiggins plans for 2013 have ranged from Giro to Tour, to both. Winning both would put Wiggins in an exclusive club with only others. Marco Pantani last won the double in 1998, perhaps benefiting from a Tour peloton reduced by the Festina Affair. Experts say the double is nearly impossible as the body demands preparation and recovery time after racing flat-out for three weeks.

Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff), cycling's current top Grand Tour rider, won the Giro in 2011 but suffered when he attempted the Tour just one month later. Regardless, officials later stripped the results for his 2010 doping offence.

"I've always wanted to win a second Tour. I'm the defending champion. I want to try and win the Giro d'Italia and win the Tour de France behind it," Wiggins said, according to the Guardian, after accepting his BBC Sports Personality of Year trophy.

"People say it can't be done, winning two tours. So let's have a go at it."

The cyclists who have done the Giro-Tour double: Fausto Coppi (1949, 1952), Jacques Anquetil (1964), Eddy Merckx (1970, 1972, 1974), Bernard Hinault (1982, 1985), Stephen Roche (1987), Miguel Indurain (1992, 1993) and Marco Pantani (1998).

"I'm not at all distracted or upset by all the speculation about what Brad might want to do," Froome continued.

"It's only natural that people will be asking questions of the reigning champion. What is for sure is that it will put us in a much stronger position going into the Tour if we have a plan 'A' and 'B', if we have two hands to play, not one."

Related links

Chris Froome: Rider profile

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Gregor Brown

Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.