Fourth on stage two of the Tour of the Alps may have been Chris Froome's best performance of the year to date, but the Team Sky leader insists that the best is yet to come as he prepares for the Giro d'Italia in May.
Froome attacked twice on the finishing climb to Alpe di Pampeago at the end of the 145.5km second stage of the Tour of the Alps but was unable to open a gap on his rival and ended up crossing the line in fourth place, seven seconds down on stage winner Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana).
"I had good sensations," Froome said after the stage. "I think I’m in a great position considering my main objective for this part of the season is to be ready for the Giro. I think I’m on track for that and I’m happy with how I’m feeling."
Asked whether he was surprised that he was unable to open a gap with his two attacks in the final 1.5km, Froome replied: "Not really. There was a headwind in the finish and as I said, I’m not exactly at my best yet. It’s been a while since I raced so I’m pretty happy with that."
Before his strong finish there was a moment of worry for fans of Team Sky as a strong pace set by Groupama-FDJ on behalf of Thibaut Pinot saw a gap open to Froome and his legion of team-mates on the first half of the climb.
However Froome said that he was simply concentrating of tackling the unrelentingly steep final climb at his own pace and praised his team-mates for their work on the climb and earlier in the stage.
"I rode at the speed I wanted to early in the climb. I don’t know [if the other guys went a bit too hard], I was just watching my own speed."
He continued: "I'm really happy with how the team performed today. We can take a lot away from today. As a team it was a very good test for us and I’m really happy with how the guys performed.
"Especially Kenny Elissonde in the final, Diego [Rosa] did a great ride too, as did Salvatore Puccio earlier in the stage. The guys were really impressive."
The Tour of the Alps continues on Wednesday with a 138.3km stage from Ora to Merano, including one first-category climb in the Passo Mendola and one third-category climb in the Passo delle Palade which is crested 26.3km before the finish.
Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1