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Chris Froome: "Challenging" 2016 Tour de France "suits me better than this year's Tour"

Defending champion views Bastille Day return of key Mont Ventoux stage as a "good omen"...

Tour de France champion Chris Froome says the route of next year’s Tour de France is “challenging” but suits him better than this year’s did. He also singled out the return of the race to Mont Ventoux on Bastille Day as the standout stage – and it's one that evokes memories of his 14th July victory there when he won the race for the first time in 2013.

The Team Sky rider had a front row seat at today’s presentation in Paris of the route of the 2016 race, the 103rd edition, and having also won a stage of this year’s race on France’s national holiday, said on Twitter that he viewed the date of next year’s Ventoux stage as a “good omen.”

Following the presentation, he told journalists that with two individual time trial stages next year, he felt the parcours suited him better than this year’s edition did.

"It challenges every aspect of cycling – time trials, mountains, a technical descent," said Froome, quoted on BBC Sport.

"It's such an amazing, special race. I'm still 30 years old and feel I have a lot left in my legs. It suits me better than this year's Tour."

He went on: "The beautiful thing about the Tour de France is that it's not specifically about one stage – I think it's going to take a complete cyclist – but the stage that certainly stands out for me is Mont Ventoux."

Two years ago, Froome won Stage 15 of the race on Mont Ventoux, finishing 29 seconds ahead of eventual runner-up Nairo Quintana of Movistar and consolidating his overall lead.

"I know how difficult this climb is and how much time can be won or lost," he added.

Froome and Quintana, who also finished second overall to the Briton this year, will face a new rival next July in the shape of Vuelta champion Fabio Aru, who will be making his Tour de France debut.

The Italian is targeting the race while his Astana team mate and 2014 Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali will ride May’s Giro d’Italia.

Next year's Tour will see the final participation of Alberto Contador, winner in 2007 and 2009 and who also wore the yellow jersey in Paris in 2010 only to be stripped of the title by the Court of Arbitration for Sport as a result of his positive test for clenbuterol.

The Tinkoff-Saxo rider confirmed earlier this year that 2016 will be his final year in the peloton.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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