Tour ace says he’ll be around for years
Chris Froome insists he still has the hunger and desire to keep on dominating the Tour de France for years to come. Speaking from his hotel in Switzerland on the second and final Tour rest day yesterday, the 31-year-old Briton claimed to be as determined as ever to succeed.
“If anything, I feel this year has demonstrated how much I still have that hunger and that desire to win this race,” he said.
“From the first two weeks I feel I’ve really taken every opportunity possible. I’ve attacked on a descent, I’ve attacked in crosswinds, I time-trialled as hard as I can to be in this position.
“It feels like I’m giving this race my all and it means so much to me.”
Froome’s daring descent on Stage 7 gave him his only stage win of the Tour so far and earned 23 seconds over most of his rivals.
Another surprise move on stage 11 saw him take advantage of strong winds to get another 12 seconds, while he took the majority of time out of his rivals on the stage 13 time-trial last Friday.
And whereas during his two previous Tour victories, in 2013 and last year, Froome was “hanging on” in the final week as his main rival Nairo Quintana launched a comeback, this time around the Kenyanborn Briton says he is getting stronger.
“Coming into this last week, I feel more ready for this third week than in previous editions,” he said.
“Starting this season later helped that, having a quieter run-in to the Tour helped that. My personal ambition is to be at my best in the third week of this race and I think I’m on track for that.”
This year’s Tour has failed to spark into life so far and Froome says one reason for that is the effect of fatigue on riders due to hard racing throughout the first two weeks.
It has left Froome with a healthy advantage on his rivals, thanks in no small part to his solid time-trial performance, and he is not expecting to need to go on the attack over the next four stages in the Alps, where he says the Tour will be won or lost.
“As it stands I’ve got almost three minutes on Quintana (2:59) and close to two minutes on Bauke Mollema (1:47).
“Obviously, if I’m going to attack, I need a good reason for it, I’m not just going to attack for the sake of attacking.
“It is at the back of everybody’s minds that these next four days are just so hard any energy spent until now that’s unnecessarily spent, that’s going to take away from what we have to spend these next four days.”
Froome dismissed suggestions his rivals had been passive and unwilling to make a mark on the relentless tempo set by his Sky teammates on climbs.