Sky’s Chris Froome did not have the easiest week in Switzerland, but still left the Tour de Romandie with a stage win. He says he is not worried at all for the Tour de France despite losing to rival Nairo Quintana (Movistar).
“It has been a tough week for us as a team,” Froome said. “A couple of guys came straight out of the Classics and are still quite tired from the Classics. We’ve also been a bit unlucky. We had a few illnesses in the team this week. Our team has struggled this week, but I’m not at all worried about the Tour de France.”
The Giro d’Italia starts this week, with Mikel Nieve set to travel from Switzerland to the start in the Netherlands to support leader Mikel Landa. Froome’s goal is still two months away in France.
Watch: Pro Bike – Chris Froome’s Pinarello Dogma F8
Some followers expressed concern when Quintana, second to Froome twice in the Tour de France, road away to win the mountain stage on day three. Froome lost contact and finished 17-30 minutes behind with Nieve for company. Prior to Villars-sur-Ollon, his only win had been in the lower-ranked Herald Sun Tour.
“I’m not necessarily here to show anything – I’m here more for myself for preparations going forward,” he explained. “Obviously my big goal is to be ready for July. I needed some good racing this week to set me up for that.”
The hard-fought stage win served to cool off the critics. He also attacked in the final stage and helped push away an escape yesterday.
Froome, clearly still happy with the effort in Romandie, wrote on Twitter on Monday, “I dedicate this combativity award to the people who call my riding style predictable & mundane.”
The next test may not be until June, when Froome will ride the Critérium du Dauphiné stage race. Quintana could be there too.
“The Romandie win gives us confidence and calmness,” Quintana said. “However, things can change before July and surely our rivals will bring powerful squads to the Tour.”