FLORENCE, Italy (VN) — Chris Froome’s “biggest goal” remaining in his career is winning a fifth Tour de France title to join a select group of four cyclists who have achieved the record in cycling.
Froome just completed the 2018 Tour third overall behind winner and teammate Geraint Thomas and Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb). It ends a run of four grand tours, which saw him win the Tour for a fourth time in 2017, the 2017 Vuelta a España, and the 2018 Giro d’Italia.
“I’m grateful for everything so far that I’ve done in the sport, but if I can carry on and try to get a fifth Tour de France victory, it’d be special to be in that elite group of guys who won five Tours,” Froome told Sporza. “That would be my biggest goal.”
Lance Armstrong won the Tour de France seven straight times, but authorities later stripped him of the titles for doping.
The record of five Tour wins is held by four of cycling’s greats: Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, and Miguel Indurain.
Froome, 33, wants to race for another four to five years, perhaps until 2023. After the upcoming Tour of Britain, he could decide his 2019 schedule.
“It’s hard to say what the plan will be next year, but I imagine that the Tour de France and aiming for a fifth Tour de France will be my priority next year,” Froome added.
“Thomas said he would race the Giro? Really? I might go and try to defend the jersey, the title from this year and we’ll have another good race! No, I’m joking!
“But seriously, I haven’t thought much about what next year will hold, but I’m sure we can make it work, we are good friends, we are honest with each other, that’s what a team is about, you find a way to move forward and do something like we did in this Tour de France.”
Froome fought and defended himself after a doping control at last year’s Vuelta a España showed his urine over the limit for asthma drug salbutamol. At times in the 2018 Giro, he seemed to be off his best, perhaps thinking about the case that would eventually see him cleared before the Tour.
He explained, “I’d like to think it didn’t impact it, but I’m sure on some level in terms of my focus and my preparations, I’m sure it did have an impact somewhere, but I don’t like to tell myself that maybe that is the reason I was not as good as I shouldn’t have been.”
Froome managed to come from behind in an 80.3-kilometer solo attack in stage 19 of the Giro d’Italia to take the stage win and the pink jersey. He won the race two days later in Rome.
He attempted to win the Giro/Tour double in 2018 to become only the eighth rider to do so. He was not his usual super self, but still managed to help Thomas win the Tour and ride himself onto the podium in third in Paris.
“Double again in 2019? I really think it’s too early to say,” said Froome. “We need to see the parcours, the timings, how everything is going to work and see what Geraint wants to aim for, and what I can go for, and see how we can match it up and make it work.”