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Team Sky leader in 100th edition of cycling's biggest race also speaks of his relief at Bradley Wiggins' absence...

Chris Froome says he has set himself the goal of dominating the Tour de France for the remainder of the decade, and that he is relieved that team mate and defending champion Sir Bradley Wiggins is missing this year’s race through injury, since the absence of media speculation regarding Sky’s leadership and tactics will result in less pressure.

Despite a stellar 2013 to date, in an interview with The Times [£], the 28-year-old Froome said he is still getting used to being in the limelight and that what counts for him is results, not stardom.

“I am who I am, I am not some of the things I’ve been told that I am,” he said. “There are already a lot of people making opinions of me. It’s one of the things I am still adjusting to. I see comments on social media which are hard not to take offence to.”

“I don’t feel like I am looking for fame or looking to be recognised for something. I’ve got my goals, and personally where I want my career to go is to target the Tour, not just this year but for the next six or seven years. I am driven by that goal, not from a fame point of view.”

Born to British parents in Kenya, schooled in South Africa and now racing for Great Britain after initially representing the country of his birth, Froome has had a singular and often difficult journey to reach the top ranks of professional cycling.

The fact he has got there, with stage wins and podium positions in two of the three Grand Tours and an Olympic bronze medal in the time trial, is a sign if nothing else of his determination.

“When I focus on something, there is not much that can throw me off course,” he said. “That is my personality. Once I’ve set my mind on something, I’ll do everything I can towards it. I can become very self-immersed.”

Froome heads to Corsica for the start of the 100th edition of the Tour in a fortnight’s time as a strong favourite, following victories in the Tour of Oman, the Critérium International, the Tour de Romandie and, last week, the Critérium du Dauphiné.

The only rider to have got the better of him this year – Vincenzo Nibali in Tirreno-Adriatico, where Froome was second overall – misses the Tour, having targeted and won the Giro d’Italia, while the man many expect to be his biggest rival in France, Alberto Contador, looks nowhere near his best.

Indeed, until it was confirmed earlier this month that a knee injury meant that Wiggins, who abandoned the Giro midway through due to illness, wouldn’t be riding the Tour, it looked as though Froome’s greatest potential rival at the Tour would come from Sky’s own ranks – even though the team had recently publicly reiterated that he would be undisputed leader.

Reflecting on Wiggins’ absence, Froome said: “It’s a shame because with Bradley, there comes a certain feel of, ‘We’ve got the defending champion, we have more respect in the peloton.’ But it is also nice not to have that continuing pressure from the media.

“The last six months, every time I have been on the record, it’s probably been the first question: who is going to be the leader for the Tour? In that respect, it will be more relaxed from a media point of view in that we will not be constantly questioned on leadership and team tactics.”

In last year’s Tour, Froome was runner-up to Wiggins, and while the latter may be absent, the man who will lead Sky’s challenge in this year’s race believes that Richie Porte’s form – he finished second to Froome at the Dauphiné and the Critérium International, and won Paris-Nice – may have a psychological impact on rivals.

“An interesting element now, with Richie Porte sitting second twice, is in some people’s minds. They are going to have to work pretty hard to get a spot on the podium, let alone trying for the victory. It is probably moving the goalposts a bit.”

The relationship Froome has with Porte certainly seems a world away from the often strained partnership with Wiggins that became evident at times during last year’s Tour and again in recent months as the latter made noises about defending his title.

Neighbours in Monaco and close friends as well as training partners, Froome acknowledged that he and Porte have contrasting personalities.

“He’s very vocal,” he explained. There’s not a thought that goes through his mind that he won’t say, which makes it interesting in the peloton especially. He will always call a spade a spade. He’s very different to me.”

Porte’s success this year has been rewarded with an extension to his contract, and the Tasmanian is targeting the world championships later this year, and has also said he wants to lead Sky in next year’s Giro d’Italia.

Like Froome, Porte is 28, and with those opportunities ahead and his career entering its peak years, he doesn’t face the time pressures that may have been in part behind Wiggins’ desire to defend his title.

That said, three weeks’ racing is a long time and anything can happen, and in Porte, Team Sky have a very useful Plan B should anything go wrong with Froome’s challenge.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

39 comments

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davidtcycle [62 posts] 2 years ago
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I do hope Froomy can win the TdF. But has anyone thought about what happens if he doesn't?

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Leviathan [1778 posts] 2 years ago
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davidtcycle wrote:

I do hope Froomy can win the TdF. But has anyone thought about what happens if he doesn't?

Someone else will win. What happens after that? A belting Vuelta.

It would be nice to see Chris win 6 or 7 Tours as this has never been done before.

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Vinerman [48 posts] 2 years ago
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might be getting carried away, he good but not that good. come on

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Wookie [212 posts] 2 years ago
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bikeboy76 wrote:
davidtcycle wrote:

I do hope Froomy can win the TdF. But has anyone thought about what happens if he doesn't?

Someone else will win. What happens after that? A belting Vuelta.

It would be nice to see Chris win 6 or 7 Tours as this has never been done before.

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nod [64 posts] 2 years ago
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The headline makes him seem more arrogant than his actual quotes suggest (i.e. he wants to ride the tour for a few more years).

Of course winning a grand tour isn't easy, but nevertheless shut up Froomey, because at the end of the day you've not won the Tour and you lost the Vuelta to Contador.

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Bigringrider [177 posts] 2 years ago
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Come on Bertie!!!!

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Woodface [12 posts] 2 years ago
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He has yet to win one, so let's not get ahead of ourselves.

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Marky Legs [122 posts] 2 years ago
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Hope he isn't a one horse pony the way Armstrong tried to be. He needs to go out and win all the major tours, and that includes winning more than one in a year, to be included amongst the best.

Good luck to him, and to Wiggins on his comeback from injury. And may they both be able to succeed alongside each other

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manu_anfield1892 [4 posts] 2 years ago
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who else can win TdF?

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farrell [1950 posts] 2 years ago
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I don't think he is good enough to win it yet.

I'll also say that I don't really want him to win either. It's not that I dislike him, it's just that he seems really dull. Maybe a bit Tour win might elevate him from being a joyless dullard though?

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swelbo [33 posts] 2 years ago
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 31

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farrell [1950 posts] 2 years ago
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swelbo wrote:

 31

I fully understand where you are coming from and it is a very well articulated point you are making but I can't help but think it may be slightly flawed.

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Metjas [359 posts] 2 years ago
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farrell wrote:
swelbo wrote:

 31

I fully understand where you are coming from and it is a very well articulated point you are making but I can't help but think it may be slightly flawed.

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RichmondTTer [8 posts] 2 years ago
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nod wrote:

The headline makes him seem more arrogant than his actual quotes suggest (i.e. he wants to ride the tour for a few more years).

Of course winning a grand tour isn't easy, but nevertheless shut up Froomey, because at the end of the day you've not won the Tour and you lost the Vuelta to Contador.

When did Froome lose the Vuelta to Contador? News to me

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gazer117 [25 posts] 2 years ago
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Last year ? O.o

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Simon_MacMichael [2443 posts] 2 years ago
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nod wrote:

The headline makes him seem more arrogant than his actual quotes suggest (i.e. he wants to ride the tour for a few more years).

"...where I want my career to go is to target the Tour..." doesn't make it sound like he's planning on being a domestique  3

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Pitstone Peddler [104 posts] 2 years ago
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Chris Froome wants to dominate Tour de France for "six or seven years" Eh? I read he wants to target it, a bit different to dominate it.

"Team Sky leader in 100th edition of cycling's biggest race also speaks of his relief at Bradley Wiggins' absence" I read he was just relieved the speculation was over.

Gotta love the medja  37 .

If Bertie stays clean, biiig if, he wont beat Froome. Then Nibali has to be tempted to ride the Tour next year again which would be good. Hard to see anyone beating Froome this year though Evans push on until he reaches an altitude of 1200mts and his old lungs run out of puff. Rodriguez is not to be forgotten though. Porte for the Worlds is an interesting one.

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fourstringsisplenty [58 posts] 2 years ago
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Inner confidence is a good thing.

Slipping into hubris generally isn't...

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kitkat [313 posts] 2 years ago
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Getting through the first week with your team mates unscathed is 75% of the battle.

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Simon E [2539 posts] 2 years ago
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Vinerman wrote:

might be getting carried away, he good but not that good. come on

I disagree.

I wouldn't bet against him regardless that genuine contenders are few. He has the engine and I think he has a steely toughness about him and determination that will drive him to realise his potential. He's a natural climber, even if he doesn't look as pretty dancing on the pedals as Contadope, and can time trial very well - silver at the Olympics, 2nd only to Wiggins in both ITTs at the 2012 Tour.

He has been around a while, was the only rider to challenge Cobo for the 2011 Vuelta. He could have distanced Wiggins by some margin on stages in last year's Tour. His 2012 Vuelta challenge would surely have been different if he hadn't already worked for Wiggins and still come away with 2nd at the Tour. So far he has owned the stage races he's entered in 2013.

Is the crackling tension at the Tour what set fans against him? Or is it the absence of a dated clothing style/fashion brand contract? Or does he need a dodgy haircut and 'man of the people who tells it like it is' image for us to like him? I don't know but, unlike many on cycling forums, I like what I see both on and off the bike.

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Leviathan [1778 posts] 2 years ago
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Bronze at the Olympics; 5 pedant points for me  4

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bikeandy61 [500 posts] 2 years ago
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After watching the Dauphine, especially the final stage I can't see a real challenger if he's healthy and stays upright. When he attacked with Porte riding his wheel he knocked half a minute off the the lead lead in metres. If he hadn't tried to nurse Porte he'd have won stage easy.

And have to say riding in France isn't the SAME as riding in Spain for Contador, Rodriguez or Valverde. IMHO. if you see my meaning.

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Simon E [2539 posts] 2 years ago
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bikeboy76 wrote:

Bronze at the Olympics; 5 pedant points for me  4

Of course!

Bum.

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notfastenough [3661 posts] 2 years ago
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bikeandy61 wrote:

And have to say riding in France isn't the SAME as riding in Spain for Contador, Rodriguez or Valverde. IMHO. if you see my meaning.

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I do believe I understand you perfectly. I've said in the past I'd pay good money to see Froome's SRM files from the Vuelta, because I don't think he was tired. I think he was fine, which brings us back to your point.

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crazy-legs [704 posts] 2 years ago
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I wish Team Sky would learn their lesson and stop their mouths running away with themsleves. Inner confidence is fine; bigging yourself up to that degree just makes you look a bit foolish when it (almost inevitably) doesn't work out. Three weeks, anything can happen.

You only have to watch The Apprentice to see how people look when they shout themselves up then fail.

Don't get me wrong, I wish him the best of luck for the Tour but please Team Sky - shut up and let the legs do the talking.

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Sheen wheels [21 posts] 2 years ago
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Er...only bronze in the Olympic time trial.

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paulfg42 [382 posts] 2 years ago
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Find it hard to warm to Froome. Seems a bit of a cold fish.

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seabass89 [212 posts] 2 years ago
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I must say.. I really hope nobody dominates anything for that many years!

I want a Tour with lots of action (like the giro) where trains disintegrate up insane gradients, riders like EBH are allowed to go in breaks and where in the end the winner is not only one with a great team behind him, but also made for some legendary solo achievements. One can dream, eh?

I must say I have stared to enjoy the Giro more than the tour. The tour is too "mainstream" and polished.

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northstar [1108 posts] 2 years ago
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In his dreams, s** are setting themselves up for a fall big time.

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andyp [1436 posts] 2 years ago
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'He has been around a while, was the only rider to challenge Cobo for the 2011 Vuelta. He could have distanced Wiggins by some margin on stages in last year's Tour. His 2012 Vuelta challenge would surely have been different if he hadn't already worked for Wiggins and still come away with 2nd at the Tour. So far he has owned the stage races he's entered in 2013.'

50% of these arguments are of course just speculation. I could have won last year's tour had I a) been really good on a bike and b) been employed by a team and selected to ride the Tour. And c) Had a lot of luck. So hey, I'll target 6 or 7 too.

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