In the week he celebrated his 34th birthday, Chris Froome (Team Ineos) gave himself an extra present after claiming the KOM of Mount Teide in Tenerife.
The four-time Tour de France winner shared his 160 kilometre “morning ride”, accompanied by team-mates Michał Kwiatkowksi and Dylan van Baarle, which he completed in a time of 5-42-06 at an average speed of 28km/h and a total elevation of more than 4,000 metres.
The data of Froome’s ascent of the Mount Teide climb, which is 6.27 kilometres in length with an average gradient of six per cent, shows he completed it in 16 minutes flat, with an average pace of 23.5km/h.
The previous best time on the climb belonged to someone called Adrián Trujillo, who posted a time of 16-09, with Froome’s team-mate Pavel Sivakov holding the third best time of 16-15. Other pros in the top ten include Michael Valgren (Dimension Data) who posted a time of 17-27 up the climb as well as Robert Gesink (Jumbo-Visma) at 18-11.
The Team Ineos rider travelled to Tenerife for a training camp after playing a support role at the Tour of the Alps and the Tour de Yorkshire, with the British team winning the overall classification in both races.
Pavel Sivakov took the overall win at the Tour of the Alps, with team-mate Tao Geoghegan Hart in second, while Chris Lawless won his first ever stage race victory in Yorkshire a week later in Leeds.
Another Team Ineos rider, Ben Swift, was left in intensive care in mid-February after descending Mount Teide and hitting a rock while making his way down. Swift says he is confident, though, of fully recovering from a crash he described as “scary”.
In January, Froome posted his 225km superhuman training effort in South Africa, as he prepared for the start of the 2019 season. His most recent Strava update comes as he prepares for a tilt at a fifth Tour de France title, which would see him equal the record jointly held by Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, and Miguel Indurain.
The 34-year-old will line up alongside reigning champion and team-mate Geraint Thomas, with the Welshman looking to quash any talk of rivalry earlier in the year, saying “as long as one of us wins, that’s the goal”.
Froome chose to not attempt to defend his Giro d’Italia title this year, but could still potentially line up for the Vuelta a España in August.
Maybe we’re reading into this too much, but the 2017 Vuelta winner replied to a tweet from race organisers wishing him a happy birthday with a winky face. Could this be a hint at a return to the Spanish Grand Tour later this year? As the saying goes, an emoji paints a thousand words.