Froome Olympic bid dented with announcement of road race quotas

Four-time Tour champion will start as part of a Great Britain team of four, against the five-man teams of many key rivals.

Chris Froome‘s 2020 ambition to take an Olympic Gold at Tokyo 2020 took a hit Monday with the announcement of team quotas for the men’s road race.

The UCI revealed the quotas allocated to each team for the road race, taking place 25 July. The Great Britain team was allocated four places, whereas France, Belgium, Colombia, Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands all received a quota of five.

The allocations, which are based on UCI points rankings, leave Colombia’s Tour de France champion Egan Bernal, French trio Julian Alaphilippe, Thibaut Pinot, and Romain Bardet, Vincenzo Nibali (Italy), Alejandro Valverde (Spain), and defending champion Greg Van Avermaet (Belgium) one man up on the Brit.

Froome has made no attempt to hide his big ambition to take his fifth Tour de France title and an Olympic Gold in 2020, in the year that he returns to racing after his career-threatening crash in June. Froome crashed in a route recon for the Criterium du Dauphine, fracturing his thigh, elbow, and vertebrae.

With the Olympic race falling just six days after the conclusion of the Tour, GC contenders are caught between racing the Giro d’Italia and hitting a second peak for the Tokyo event, or hoping to carry Tour de France form and minimal fatigue into the Olympics. French favorite Bardet has opted for the Giro pathway, whereas Valverde, like Froome, is looking to carry Tour de France condition toward a shot at the Olympic title.

Froome joined Michal Kwiatkowski, Jakob Fuglsang and Bardet in reconning parts of the Olympics route during a trip to Japan to race the Saitama Criterium last month.

Although the weather wasn’t on Froome’s side during his rainy recon, he is hoping that the Japanese summer will treat him better.

“I’ve never won a one-day race but coming right after the Tour de France, I think it’s great timing,” said Kenyan-born Froome, who handles racing at high temperatures better than most.

“In theory, the conditions should still be good at that time,” he told AFP in October. “An Olympic route like that, it’s going to be a race of elimination. It’s going to be so hot out here in August, which is just perfect, fantastic.”

Although Froome is aiming for a yellow jersey and Gold medal in July 2020, he knows that before anything else, he needs to return to fitness.

“First things first, I have to get back to full fitness before I can think about the logistics of getting there (to Tokyo) after the Tour,” he said.

The Brit recently took another step in his road to recovery when he had a metal plate removed from the leg that he shattered in last summer’s crash.