Froome had previously said that he may target the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana in 2015, saying that the Giro represented a ‘big opportunity’, but it now appears that the Tour is once again at the very top of his agenda.
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“Together with the team, we’ve had to prioritise some events over others, but the Tour will remain my main focus for 2015,” Froome said via a team statement.
“The concept of doing all three Grand Tours in a season has got appeal but having said that, I know how hard it is to do two Grand Tours while targeting the overall win. At this point in my career I feel that the Tour takes priority. There may come a time at some point down the line where other races may take preference, but for 2015, it’s the Tour.”
Froome’s Tour de France title defence in 2014 ended in disaster after a series of crashes forced him out of the race with fractures in his wrist and hand. Italian rival Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) went on to take his first Tour win. Froome then returned to take on the Vuelta a Espana, but lost out to fellow Tour crashee, Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo).
Froome had aired doubts about the suitability of the 2015 Tour route as it features little in the way of time trial kilometres and a hefty amount of climbing. The Giro route features 76.8km of time trials, compared to the Tour’s 42. Both races feature a similar number of mountain tests, but the Giro’s poor weather is not something that suits Froome.
“There is no doubt that this Tour de France is going to be a tough test, but I enjoy the challenge and there’s no reason why I would be any worse off than any of the other contenders,” said Froome. “It is our responsibility as a team to adapt accordingly so that we can be as competitive as possible there.”
Kenyan-born Froome is currently back in South Africa, taking advantage of the fine weather to start his training for the 2015 season. He hinted that he will have to tailor his physiology, alter his training and lose weight to take on his Tour rivals in the mountains.
“It’s a climbers’ Tour next year so I’m going to have to work extra hard in the mountains and spend less time on practicing time trialling. It’s also going to be important to be as light as possible, so our nutrition will play a key role.”
If the Tour goes wrong, then Froome can still take a shot at the Vuelta in September – a race that includes a long, flat time trial and has been “made for Froome” according to the race organiser.
Froome’s switch in interest from the Giro to the Tour also fits in with Sky bike sponsor Fausto Pinarello’s recent comment that Bradley Wiggins may ride in the 2015 Giro as his final Grand Tour.
Before the 2015 season kicks in, Froome will travel to Tasmania to link up with Sky team-mate Richie Porte to take part in the Stan Siejka Launceston Cycling Classic over December 6-7.
Vuelta a Espana organiser includes a long flat time trial in 2015 after Chris Froome jokingly asked for one