BRITAIN’S Chris Froome has dropped a major hint that he is planning to skip the Tour de France next year, after the route for cycling’s most prestigious race was revealed yesterday.
Froome, who became only the second Briton in history to win the Tour in 2013, said the mountain heavy route made him minded to consider riding the Giro d’Italia and possibly the Vuelta a Espana instead.
“There are no two ways about it, next year’s Tour is going to be about the mountains,” said the Team Sky leader. “There’s very little emphasis on time-trialling which means the race will be decided up in the high mountains. With six mountain-top finishes it is going to be an aggressive and massively demanding race.
“The team and I will have to give it some careful consideration before we make any commitments to which of the grand tours I will compete in.
“I see myself as quite a balanced rider and the Giro, with its inclusion of a long time-trial of 60km and tough uphill finishes, will make it a well balanced race which suits me well.
“If I did the Giro I may also be able to get myself back to top shape for the Vuelta and go there with a realistic chance of aiming for the win. In the past I’ve only targeted one grand tour each season but it could be a good opportunity for me to focus seriously on two.”
The 2015 Tour starts in Utrecht with one of only two time-trials and travels through Belgium before entering France and visiting the infamous cobbled roads of the Paris-Roubaix. It was on those cobbles that Froome’s title defence ended in the summer, the Kenyaborn rider withdrawing after two crashes during the fifth stage. It later emerged he had earlier fractured his wrist and hand.
He added: “The cobbles were not the cause of my departure from the Tour this year, it was the crash on the previous stage. I actually quite enjoy riding on the cobbles.”
Next year’s Tour de France starts on 4 July, a month after the Giro d’Italia concludes. The Vuelta runs from 10 August to 13 September.