Tom Dumoulin seen as main future Grand Tour threat as retiring Alberto Contador bows out in Shanghai criterium
“I’ve had a bit of time at home now, which has been great to soak up some time with the family after a long season,” the Team Sky man said.
“I’ve done the odd ride here or there, but mainly I’ve just enjoyed getting out for a coffee ride and meet up with some friends. It’s nice to be home again, it feels like being on holiday even at home.”
Froome is set to return to full training midway through November, before discussing his race plan for the 2018 season with Team Sky bosses.
Despite noting that he doesn’t see any reason as to why he wouldn’t be on the start line in Vendee next July as he attempts to win his fifth Tour de France, whether this is after a tilt at the Giro d’Italia has yet to be decided.
“Everything is a possibility at the moment. The Giro can always be hit and miss [in terms of weather] at that time of year so it may depend on the race location. Obviously, the start in Jerusalem is pretty different as well but we’ll have to see what the race looks like first before we make any calls.”
Back to back Grand Tours in Italy and France would see Froome competing in four in a row including his 2017 participations. A tactic which has seen other rivals such as Nairo Quintana falter.
“I don’t necessarily see it as four in a row in that sense. It wasn’t like I have kept going after the Vuelta so I’m not that concerned about that,” Froome said.
“But doing two Grand Tours in a row is tough, if the second one is the Tour de France it makes it even more challenging for sure.”
Another decision that is up in the air is which Grand Tour 2017 revelation Tom Dumoulin will ride in the 2018 season, as Froome is well aware the Team Sunweb rider will be his immediate threat in the coming months.
“He is someone who I haven’t really gone head-to-head properly in a GC sense but I definitely look forward to that challenge. He is very different to my other rivals as he is the strongest time triallist in the world and is very competent on the climbs and knows how to pace himself as well.”
“I’d say out of the other GC riders he is the only guy who really paces himself when there are accelerations; you have seen him get dropped but he is not actually dropped as he is just managing his pace. He is the only other GC rider I’ve seen doing that which is a big skill to have.”
Dumoulin’s victory at last year’s Giro d’Italia didn’t come as a surprise to Froome, who wagered a friendly bet of 10 euros on the Dutchman securing his first Grand Tour victory with some friends.
One of Froome’s rivals who Dumoulin is looking to displace is Alberto Contador, who Froome is set to face for the last time in Shanghai.
“He has animated the races, for the last few years especially and I’m sure there are going to be a lot of people sad to see him go,” said Froome.
“I’m not going to miss his attacks and causing a lot of anxiety back in the peloton to catch him again but certainly it has been exciting racing with him as you never know what was going to happen.”