Froome may skip mountainous 2015 Tour for Giro-Vuelta double
Chris Froome (Sky) said the 2015 Tour de France presented Wednesday “is about the mountains” and that he could skip the race in favor of the time trial-heavy Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España.
“There’s no two ways about it, next year’s Tour is going to be about the mountains,” Froome said in a press statement.
The Briton and 2013 Tour champion is with Sky at a team building camp and did not attend the presentation in Paris, where organizer ASO presented a route with six summit finishes and only one 13.7-kilometer individual time trial.
“There’s very little emphasis on time trialling which means the race will be decided up in the high mountains,” Froome said. “With six mountaintop finishes it is going to be an aggressive and massively demanding race.”
Froome said the race suits Spain’s Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), but he also mentioned Colombia’s Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and 2014 winner and Italian Vincenzo Nibali (Astana). Contador and Quintana have already put the 2015 Tour, slated for July 4-26, on their program.
“We’ll have to see who’s going to be there but I think Alberto Contador will be the man to beat,” Froome continued.
“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.”
Froome raced and won the 2013 Tour. He returned in 2014 to defend his title, but he crashed three times and abandoned with fractured bones in his wrist and hand on the fifth stage, July 9, ahead of the cobbles to Arenberg.
He explained that it is not guaranteed that he will lead Sky again at the 2015 Tour. Instead, he could opt for the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España next year.
Organizer Unipublic has yet to present the 2015 Vuelta route, but RCS Sport revealed its Giro course October 6. Besides the usual mountaintop finishes in the final week, it includes a 59.2km time trial on stage 14.
“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,” Froome said. “I see myself as quite a balanced GC rider and the Giro with its inclusion of a long time trial 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. 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.”
Froome has only raced the Giro d’Italia twice before, in 2009 when he placed 34th and in 2010 when he was disqualified for holding onto a motorbike. In 2012, he raced the Tour and the Vuelta, placing second and fourth. After pulling out of the 2014 Tour, he placed finished in the Vuelta in September.