Chris Froome (Sky) said that he will skip all the one-day classics from Milan-San Remo to Liège-Bastogne-Liège to prepare for the Tour de France.
He had planned on racing Milan-San Remo with Bradley Wiggins but changed his mind after reports this weekend that the organiser will have to skip the Pompeiana climb.
“I don’t think I’ll be doing San Remo. I think the new climb has been taken out and I think then it’s not quite 100% a climbers’ race like it would have been. I’m pretty sure I won’t be there.”
Froome arrived in Muscat yesterday for the Tour of Oman, which starts today and runs through February 23. He heard the reports about Milan-San Remo’s change in direction.
Over the weekend, the Imperia provincial government said that it would not allow Milan-San Remo to use Pompeiana climb.
It explained that the descent, with potholes and damaged guard rails, presents too many dangers. Recent heavy rains worsened the problem, causing a landslide and forcing authorities to close the SP51 road.
“We can’t authorise the race to pass this road,” Michele Russo, director of roads and transport for the Imperia province, told Cycling Weekly.
“There are big problems when you go to descend past Castellero. Also, due to a quarry there, the road is really worn. Absolutely, a race caravan of that size can’t pass.”
Organiser RCS Sport told Cycling Weekly that it is controlling the situation but it appears it will have to steer the race on its traditional course to San Remo, over the Cipressa and the Poggio. In that case, it suits sprinters and attackers but not climbers like Froome.
Froome said that his programme “does not include any one-day races before the Tour de France.” Instead, he will compete in stage races from the Tour of Oman to the Tour de France. After Oman, he travels to Italy for Tirreno-Adriatico, Spain for the Volta a Catalunya and France for the Critérium du Dauphiné. He skips the two-day Critérium International, which he won last year.
He ruled out racing cobbled-classics Tour of Flanders or Paris-Roubaix to prepare for the Tour de France. This year’s fifth stage, from Ypres to Arenberg, covers nine cobbled sectors from Paris-Roubaix.
“I personally would prefer to not take the risk in racing on the cobbles,” he said. “I’ve done Paris Roubaix before so I know what to expect, but I would at least like to ride and train on the cobbles in preparation for that cobbled stage in the Tour.”
Last season, Froome flew in at the last minute to race Liège-Bastogne-Liège. It was his first spring classic since 2010.
“Liege-Bastogne-Liege is always a race I’d love to do well at,” he added. “It’s at a really good time of the season for in the sense that it is in part of the build-up to the Tour and I should be going well at that point already.
“Last year I had really bad luck with mechanical problems at the wrong moments in the race. One day races are always going to be that gamble but it is something I would really like to try and do.”