MILAN (VN) — Chris Froome (Sky) will decide on his Vuelta a España participation in the next week, but one thing is certain: he will aim for the Tour de France/Olympic double in 2016.
The 2013 and 2015 Tour de France winner plans to return to the Tour next year and then two weeks later, race at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. He wants to compete in both the road race and the time trial.
The Opening Ceremony at the Olympics is scheduled for August 5, 2016 in the Maracanã Stadium, and the events kick off the next day. Froome posted a message on Twitter Wednesday morning underlining his intentions.
— Chris Froome (@chrisfroome) August 5, 2015
Froome’s former Sky teammate Bradley Wiggins won time trial gold at the 2012 Olympics in London on the heels of his Tour de France win, making him the first cyclist to take the Tour trophy and an Olympic gold medal on the road in the same year.
Froome also earned a medal in London — a bronze in the time trial — and participated in the road race in support of Mark Cavendish. It is unclear if he would aim to win the time trial, road race, or both in Rio. British Cycling technical director Shane Sutton told The Telegraph Froome wants to race both events.
“Chris is really keen and they’ve been in touch and we’ll put everything behind him that he needs,” Sutton told the British newspaper.
“Everything’s doable and if he focuses on it and works on it, he’s a contender for the double. It’s just about making sure he comes out of the Tour well.”
Sutton helped Wiggins through his 2012 ride. The team made small changes to make sure he was ready, such as flying the team out of Paris on Sunday night instead of staying for the usual post-race parties.
Froome has not officially returned to competition after taking his second Tour title on the Champs-Élysées July 26. He competed in a handful of criteriums and returned to his home in Monaco.
He could return to racing in the Vuelta a España starting on August 22, telling L’Equipe he will decide within a week to 10 days.
For a bid at the 2016 Tour/Olympic double, Froome might need to modify his schedule slightly to ensure that he leaves Paris fresh enough to compete in Rio de Janeiro. The flight takes 11 hours and covers five time zones.
The 2016 Tour ends July 24 in Paris. Rio de Janeiro hosts the road race August 6 and the time trial August 10.
Froome has yet to make public his full 2016 schedule. So far in 2015, he has raced 48 days. The 30-year-old explained that, even with a baby on the way, he wants to continue fighting for victories.
“I love the sacrifice and training, the hard work, that gets me out of bed in the morning,” Froome said after winning the Tour.
“I’m not doing it for a specific amount of Tour titles, fame or awards, I love riding my bike, pushing my body to the limits.
“I love to continue doing this as long as my body will allow you, I’d like to go to 36, 37, 38… If I can continue on that long, I’ll definitely try.”