Chris Froome (Sky) is taking on the Vuelta a España with optimism as he looks to erase the disappointment of his early exit from the Tour de France.
The 29-year-old will ride into the Spanish tour with high ambitions, but he already has one eye on 2015. Riding a complete grand tour before the end of the season is just as important as being competitive in Spain.
“Going for the win will certainly be tough, but we’ll give it everything we’ve got,” Froome said Monday in a Sky release. “I’m really pleased with how my recovery has gone since the Tour. I’ve been training hard and the support team are pleased with my progress. I’m a little bit light on racing days this year, so getting a grand tour under my belt will not only help me now, but it will also help my preparation for next year.”
Froome’s early exit in stage 5 ended Sky’s two-year reign at the Tour. The African-born all-rounder injured his wrist, but said the Vuelta is just what he needs to remain motivated for the final months of what’s been an up-and-down 2014 season.
“This is exactly the sort of challenge I need after the disappointment of withdrawing from the Tour de France,” Froome continued. “You can’t dwell on disappointment, you have to move on quickly to next thing, and the Vuelta has become the perfect race for me to focus on.”
Sky confirmed its nine starters for the Vuelta. U.S. riders Joe Dombrowski and Ian Boswell were not selected to race the season’s third grand tour. Other riders who rode the Tour, such as Richie Porte and Danny Pate, are not scheduled to race the Vuelta.
Froome will face a stiff challenge in the GC, with a motivated and ambitious Nairo Quintana (Movistar) racing to win what would be his second grand tour victory of the year. The Colombian won the five-day Vuelta a Burgos in his return to Europe following his dramatic victory at the Giro d’Italia in May.
Supporting Froome will be an all-star cast, including Phil Deignan, Peter Kennaugh, Vasil Kiryienka, and MIkel Nieve.
“I’ve always really enjoyed racing at the Vuelta. It’s a tough race but a great opportunity for the whole team,” Froome said. “I know that the level of competition will be incredibly high this year, but we’ve got a strong line-up so we hope to be as competitive as possible.”
Froome is downplaying his chances publicly, but he wants to win the Vuelta, in part to salvage his 2014 season, as well as avenge his narrow loss in the 2011 Vuelta to Spanish rider Juanjo Cobo.
Sky for the Vuelta a Espana (August 23-September 14)
Chris Froome (GBR)
Dario Cataldo (ITA)
Philip Deignan (IRL)
Peter Kennaugh (GBR)
Vasil Kiryienka (BLR)
Christian Knees (GER)
Mikel Nieve (ESP)
Luke Rowe (GBR)
Kanstantsin Siutsou (BLR)