Chris Froome wants to dominate Tour de France for "six or seven years"

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

by Simon_MacMichael   June 12, 2013  

2013 Tour of Oman Stage 6 Chris Froome at start (© Bruno Bade:Muscat Muncipality)

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.

39 user comments

Latest 30 commentsNewest firstBest ratedAll

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?

posted by farrell [1580 posts]
12th June 2013 - 14:41

5 Likes

Sick

posted by swelbo [33 posts]
12th June 2013 - 14:42

7 Likes

swelbo wrote:
Sick

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.

posted by farrell [1580 posts]
12th June 2013 - 14:50

6 Likes

farrell wrote:
swelbo wrote:
Sick

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.


Thinking

posted by Metjas [313 posts]
12th June 2013 - 15:08

9 Likes

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

posted by RichmondTTer [8 posts]
12th June 2013 - 15:56

8 Likes

Last year ? O.o

posted by gazer117 [26 posts]
12th June 2013 - 16:05

7 Likes

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 Wink

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8513 posts]
12th June 2013 - 16:18

5 Likes

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 Yawn .

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.

Ah, but that was then

posted by Pitstone Peddler [104 posts]
12th June 2013 - 16:32

7 Likes

Inner confidence is a good thing.

Slipping into hubris generally isn't...

fourstringsisplenty's picture

posted by fourstringsisplenty [67 posts]
12th June 2013 - 17:05

7 Likes

Getting through the first week with your team mates unscathed is 75% of the battle.

posted by kitkat [228 posts]
12th June 2013 - 17:54

8 Likes

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.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2061 posts]
12th June 2013 - 18:08

10 Likes

Bronze at the Olympics; 5 pedant points for me Big Grin



I am stronger than Mensa, Miller and Mailer, I spat out Plath and Pinter.

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1434 posts]
12th June 2013 - 18:40

4 Likes

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.

Big Grin Devil Thinking

bikeandy61's picture

posted by bikeandy61 [399 posts]
12th June 2013 - 19:17

6 Likes

bikeboy76 wrote:
Bronze at the Olympics; 5 pedant points for me Big Grin

Of course!

Bum.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2061 posts]
12th June 2013 - 19:27

9 Likes

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.

Big Grin Devil Thinking

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.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3475 posts]
12th June 2013 - 19:39

3 Likes

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.

posted by crazy-legs [568 posts]
12th June 2013 - 21:16

7 Likes

Er...only bronze in the Olympic time trial.

posted by Sheen wheels [18 posts]
12th June 2013 - 21:22

8 Likes

Find it hard to warm to Froome. Seems a bit of a cold fish.

posted by paulfg42 [379 posts]
12th June 2013 - 22:24

9 Likes

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.

seabass89's picture

posted by seabass89 [235 posts]
12th June 2013 - 23:11

6 Likes

In his dreams, s** are setting themselves up for a fall big time.

posted by northstar [1112 posts]
13th June 2013 - 2:29

8 Likes

'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.

posted by andyp [1077 posts]
13th June 2013 - 6:29

8 Likes

andyp wrote:
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.

This is such a useless comment it's surely worth repeating.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2061 posts]
13th June 2013 - 8:17

8 Likes

Simon, have to take issue with the word you have chosen to put in Froome's mouth, based on that interview. I've read ydays Times interview over and over again to make sure I'm not going mad - AT NO POINT does he use the word DOMINATE. This is an incredibly emotive word, given the history with Armstrong - and my conclusion has to be that this is a bit of trolling on your part.

Here is the paragraph from the interview, cut and pasted here:

"I ask if he is the opposite to Wiggins, which is probably a lazy question, but elicits an interesting answer. “I don’t feel like I am looking for fame or looking to be recognised for something,” Froome says. “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.”

I'm sorry, because generally I like your writing.

But this is out of order.

posted by Sam1 [219 posts]
13th June 2013 - 9:05

10 Likes

The thing is that these interviews are conducted with no Sky PR person controlling whats said or what goes on record. They dont control what Froome says any more than they do Wiggins, in these types of interviews - or Froome's girlfriend on the innumerable times she goes off on one.

posted by Sam1 [219 posts]
13th June 2013 - 9:08

5 Likes

When will the fantasy TdF open? I want to start tinkering!

493rd in GC Fantasy TdF 2014

Sanderville's picture

posted by Sanderville [229 posts]
13th June 2013 - 12:27

6 Likes

@Sam1 - absolutely. He says, 'targeting', as in he will construct his racing year around the Tour. Very tabloid reporting by road.cc.

@farrell - just for the record, not all dullards are joyless. Big Grin

dullard's picture

posted by dullard [140 posts]
13th June 2013 - 13:06

4 Likes

For my money he won le tour last year and he is a whole lot more humble self sacrificing pleasant a character than sideburns

posted by kylemalco [33 posts]
16th June 2013 - 17:28

6 Likes

Oh...no.......!!

posted by dogcc [125 posts]
18th June 2013 - 19:08

6 Likes

manu_anfield1892 wrote:
who else can win TdF?

If Twigo can, anyone can.

posted by dogcc [125 posts]
18th June 2013 - 19:10

8 Likes

Froome on Wiggins on the BBC today:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cycling/22957697



I am stronger than Mensa, Miller and Mailer, I spat out Plath and Pinter.

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1434 posts]
18th June 2013 - 20:15

6 Likes