He successfully handled the Alps and Pyrenees, but Chris Froome never had a fight quite like this on a bike.
The Tour de France champion and Olympic bronze medalist playfully went up against a man twice his size at an event in Japan on Friday.
The next challenge for Froome may come from within his Team Sky. The route for next year’s Tour de France was announced this week, highlighted by a stage with cobblestones.
The possibility is open that 2012 Tour de France and Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins could return for the 2014 Tour (he missed 2013 due to injury). If he does, Team Sky will likely have to choose one man between Froome and Wiggins to go for the yellow jersey.
It could get contentious, based on recent reported comments by Wiggins.
“There were loads of issues in the team,” Wiggins said to Sport of this season, according to ESPN.co.uk. “I was getting sick and tired of this leadership thing with Chris Froome. I’d had enough of it all, to be honest. And then (when Froome was named Team Sky leader for the Tour) it was like: ‘right, someone else is going to lead this team.’
“So I probably just felt undermined, in a way. And I was like, well, they’re backing someone else now. So, you know. That was that, really.”