SAITAMA, Japan (VN) — Chris Froome likes his chances of winning a fourth Tour de France in five years next season, but the Team Sky leader says that, while the recently announced Giro d’Italia route looks good, those hoping for a historic Giro-Tour double in 2017 will likely be disappointed.
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Speaking to reporters in Saitama, Japan, ahead of ASO’s season-ending Saitama Criterium showcase, Froome praised the Giro’s mix of time trials and summit finishes — two things in short supply at next year’s Tour de France.
“It’s a much more balanced route,” Froome said of the 2017 Giro. “It’s like what you’d expect in a grand tour — with a balance of time trials and mountain stages. It’s definitely going to be an exciting race. Whether or not I’m going to be there — who knows? I think it’s unlikely, given that my focus is going to be the Tour. But I’m definitely not going to rule it out.
“We haven’t really come up with a program yet for next year,” Froome added. “That will happen in the next few weeks.”
As for the Tour, the 2017 route, announced in early October, has left many anticipating a very unpredictable race. With just 36 kilometers of time trials and few decisive climbing stages, the Tour would look to be much more wide open than recent editions, where Team Sky has completely dominated from start to finish.
But Froome — who spent Friday with fellow 2016 Tour de France jersey winners Peter Sagan, Rafal Majka (both Tinkoff) and Adam Yates (Orica – BikeExchange) wearing various Japanese costumes and taking part in cultural exhibitions — thinks his teammates will have an even easier time forcing their will on the peloton next July.
“Now that I’ve had time to digest the Tour route a bit more, it’s very light in time trials, which means the racing will be in the mountains,” Froome said. “But with only three mountaintop finishes, it leaves very few opportunities for the GC guys to race it out. So I’m not sure how it’s going to pan out. But it looks like there will be very few GC battles.
“The shorter stages, your teammates can go further. If you break it down, you’ve basically got more guys to do a shorter distance. In my opinion, I think it’s going to be a more controlled Tour.”