Chris Froome: I want to match Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault with five Tours de France

Three-time Tour winner sets out his ambition to join the greats

Chris Froome on the podium at the 2016 Tour de France
(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

Chris Froome has set out his bold ambition to put his name among cycling’s all-time greats with five Tour de France wins.

Already a winner of three Tours, Froome says that he is already thinking about how he will be thought of by future generations, wanting to join cycling’s pantheon.

“I think looking ahead at next year, it’s going to be a really critical steps to cement my place in the cycling world.

“I want to try and get up there with the greats, up there with guys like Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, and Miguel Indurain on five Tours de France. That’s going to be my objective for the foreseeable future.”

>>> 'It's possible to beat Chris Froome head-to-head if there's the right situation

His comments mark a change in emphasis for Froome, who has tended to play down how much his place in history motivates him

The 31-year-old is already one of the most successful GC riders in Tour history. His three wins put him level with Greg LeMond, Philippe Thys, and Louison Bobet, and behind only Merckx, Hinault, Indurain, and Jacques Anquetil.

However a fifth Tour de France is not the only thing on Froome’s agenda with the Brit also eyeing up a Tour/Vuelta a España double, a feat last achieved by Hinault in 1978, and never achieved since the Vuelta moved from April to its current September slot in 1995.

Watch: Tour de France 2017 essential guide

Having finished second in the race in last year, Froome is confident that more favourable preparation could see him a finish in the red jersey in 2017.

“At last year’s Vuelta I certainly wasn’t at the same levels that I was at the Tour, because the Olympics were there in the middle, so I was just ticking over and getting to the Vuelta with what I had.”

“If the route is similar then I could follow a similar path to aim for the double, and without the Olympics in the middle it would be a lot more doable. I came close last year, but I got caught out tactically and that’s the reason I lost the Vuelta.”

>>> Vuelta a España 2017: The route Chris Froome's been waiting for?

However, of the three 2017 Grand Tours, it is the Giro d’Italia that offers a route most suitable for Froome, with the Brit appearing to have been tempted to ride.

“I absolutely love the Giro route It’s got everything from massive mountaintop finishes to tough time trials.

“But if I’m realistically going to be at the Tour at my best, then it’s very difficult to combine the two.

“That’s not to say that it’s off the table – maybe it’s something for the future”

That's a different approach from Nairo Quintana, who will be riding both the Tour and the Giro in 2017 in an attempt to become the first man to win both races since Marco Pantani in 1998.

Froome will begin his 2017 season at the Great Ocean Road Race and the Herald Sun Tour in Australia, with his first race in Europe being the Volta a Catalunya in late March.

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