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Froome to ditch ego and gamble on gold

Although Chris Froome will be a big favorite for the Olympics road race, he insists he'll play the team role to ensure Team GB wins gold.

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RIO DE JANIERO (AFP) — Tour de France champion Chris Froome said there will be no room for egos in the British team and vowed to gamble on winning Olympic cycling gold.

Froome and British teammates Geraint Thomas, Adam Yates, and Stephen Cummings will be bidding for an Olympic crown on Saturday in the men’s 241.5km road race.

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The hilly course and its sheer length will suit either a pure climber, such as Froome, or a renowned puncher — the one-day classics experts who excel on short sharp ascents.

And while Froome will likely be Britain’s best hope, he says he is prepared to switch to the role of teammate if need be. “At the end of the day, we have to put it together on the road and put our egos aside and try to get a medal,” said the 31-year-old, three-time Tour winner.

While Froome acknowledged the course suits him with its three ascensions of the nine-kilometer Canoas Vista Chinesa climb in the latter part of the race, he believes there are other favorites and that he will have to take a chance to win.

“It’s a real climber’s course. It’s going to be hard,” he said. “For sure the Colombians will be good, [Alejandro] Valverde [of Spain], [Italian Vincenzo] Nibali and riders like that.

“It’s very different to the Tour de France. The Olympics is a one-day race. It’s not a three-week race like the Tour, when you make adjustments and think tactically over three weeks.

“In this race, you have to give it all on the day. You have to be willing to gamble and take your chances.”

Froome may have dominated the Tour de France over the last few years but his one-day pedigree is less remarkable. He has only entered four one-day races in the last couple of years and never got close to winning them.

But he knows this race will not be all about him, unlike the Tour where his Sky team is entirely devoted to his needs.

“The Tour is over, and of course I am happy that I won, but now I am here to think about the Olympics. The goal is to try to get a medal for Great Britain. It can be any one of us.”

“Cards to play”

Froome’s faithful lieutenant Geraint Thomas — an important cog in the Team Sky machine — says every member of the team will have the chance to go for their own aims if the situation presents itself.

“We’ve all got an opportunity. Chris is obviously at a good level after winning the Tour de France, and we a have a few of us who are on good form,” said the Welshman, who has distinguished himself in recent years in the Belgian one-day classics.

“We’ve just got to play our cards right and be aggressive. We have to be ready to take advantage of any opportunity when it’s there. It’s a hard course with 30 degrees Celsius [86 Fahrenheit] predicted for Saturday. Froomey is the main man everyone is looking at, but we’ve got some other cards to play.”