Chris Froome, winner of the Tour de France in 2013, says he is not certain to take part in next year’s race after it was revealed it would include just one individual time trial – at 14 kilometres, the shortest since the format was introduced to the race in 1947. Instead, the Team Sky rider may target the Giro d’Italia and perhaps follow that up with the Vuelta.
On his personal website Froome, speaking from Team Sky’s training camp in Weymouth, said: "There's no two ways about it, next year's Tour is going to be about the mountains. There's very little emphasis on time trialling which means the race will be decided up in the high mountains. With six mountaintop finishes it is going to be an aggressive and massively demanding race."
The 29-year-old seems to be leaning more towards May’s Giro, although no firm decision has been made yet. "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,” he said.
“I see myself as quite a balanced GC rider and the Giro with its inclusion of a long TT 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."
Froome, who after crashing out of the Tour de France this summer rode the Vuelta where he finished runner-up to Alberto Contador, went on: "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. It's still early days though and we'll have to sit down and put our heads together as a team to work out what 2015 is going to look like for us."
The 102nd edition of the Tour, which starts in Utrecht on 4 July with that short time trial – it is 6km too long to be classified as a Prologue – also contains a cobbled stage, which evokes memories of Froome’s early exit from this year’s race when he crashed twice on Stage 5, having already injured himself in a fall the previous day.
He insisted however that his experience in July wouldn’t put him off riding on the pave. "I actually quite enjoy the challenge of riding on the cobbles,” he said. “It's a difficult and stressful obstacle for us to overcome when it's part of a race like the Tour de France, but we're all in the same boat and there's no reason why I'd be any worse off than any of the other GC contenders".
"The cobbles were not the cause of my departure from the Tour this year, it was the crash on the previous stage which could have happened to anybody. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time," he added.
Froome concluded by casting his eye over some of the contenders for the yellow jersey next year. "We'll have to see who's going to be there but I think Alberto Contador will be the man to beat. You can never discount the likes of Nairo Quintana, Vincenzo Nibali and other GC contenders like Purito [Joaquin Rodriguez] and [Alejandro] Valverde,” he said. Alberto is the guy who stands out though. He came back after his injury in an amazing way to win the Vuelta España title this year and I expect him to be just as strong next season."
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.