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After a series of unspectacular showings through his season so far and with the Tour de France on the horizon, Froome wants to see promising signs from training translating to the elbows and accelerations of the Dauphiné peloton.
“The biggest goal for me this week is to see if some of the figures from training are coming through to racing,” Froome said Sunday.
“Personally, I’d love to see a progression in terms of climbing. I’d like to get further into the climbs that I did earlier this season. That would be a big win for me.”
Froome finished in the bunch after the opening stage of the Dauphiné on Sunday, coming through a fast hilly race around Issoire unscathed and in contact.
With other top Tour contenders such as Geraint Thomas, Sepp Kuss and Miguel Ángel López also in the peloton this week, the Dauphiné is the final opportunity for Froome to measure himself against his rivals ahead of the Grand Départ, now less than four weeks away.
Froome spent much of May on Mount Teide in a bid to lose kilos and gain watts in a final push toward the Tour. The 36-year-old was optimistic that the thin air and unrelenting climbs of Tenerife have helped him gain some long-needed momentum.
“I definitely feel like that block at altitude had a big impact on me,” he said in his latest YouTube video. “I feel as if I was able to take a big step up there.”
“I’m certainly hoping to be closer to where I need to be once I get into racing now than I was previously this season.”
Although Froome is optimistic after a long block at altitude, it’s not enough to be handed the leader’s armband at the Dauphiné this week. Instead, Ben Hermans heads up the Israel Start-Up Nation seven in France as Froome takes a back seat.
“We’ve got a strong group of guys here, we’re definitely going to be looking at the breakaways and keeping Ben Hermans up there for the general classification,” Froome said.
“There’s a lot of strong GC guys here so it will be tough work but it’s a great place for us to test our legs.”
If Froome doesn’t pass his test this week, he may need to defer a year before taking his Tour de France exam.