California is known for its laid-back, easy-going lifestyle, but for the cyclists of Los Angeles who have developed a penchant for tackling KOM leaderboards on Strava they’ll have to be a bit less relaxed if they want to break into the top 10s on climbs around Los Angeles.
That’s because Chris Froome has spent his winter on the west coast, enjoying the warm weather and preparing for his first season at Israel Start-Up Nation, where he’ll be looking to return to the Tour de France and potentially claim a record-equalling fifth yellow jersey.
Getting out for what appears to be the first time in 2021, Froome put in a four-hour ‘Super Saturday’ effort, taking in more than 2,000m of climbing in 100km.
The 35-year-old averaged 25.8km/h, hitting a maximum of 80km/h on the descents, with a weighted average power of 263W, taking in the Malibu coastline before heading inland into the hills.
As well as setting a number of personal records and taken the podium on a number of segments, Froome also took a KOM, beating the likes of ex-pro Phil Gaimon by nine seconds and recently retired Rally Cycling rider Nigel Ellsay by 12.
Froome took three and a half minutes to ride the kilometre-long segment, hitting a max power of 670W as he averaged the climb at a speed of 17.8km, his heart rate hitting 152bpm.
Froome’s decision to winter in California was made not only to avoid the harsh European weather, but also so he could utilise the Red Bull High Performance Centre, where he has been working through the after-effects of his serious leg injury.
He says he feels rejuvenated by the prospect of a new team, saying the later seasons at Ineos felt like copying and pasting every year.
“Changing teams at this point in my career is going to give me so much more mental stimulation and motivation,” he said recently.
“It’s a whole new change. It’s a new project, It’s a new chapter, it does feel quite rejuvenating for me.”