Chris Froome, the 2013 Tour de France winner, said next year’s Tour de France takes priority over all other races.
“Of course, together with the team, we’ve had to prioritize some events over others, but the Tour will remain my main focus for 2015,” Froome, who has been training in South Africa, said on his website Tuesday.
Froome didn’t initially commit to the 2015 Tour de France when the route was unveiled Oct. 22. Next year’s Tour includes one nine-mile time trial, putting less emphasis on the “race of truth” than usual. That would seem to hurt Froome, the 2012 Olympic time trial bronze medalist for Great Britain.
But Froome is also strong at climbing, and next year’s Tour includes 26 climbs, highlighted by the grueling Alpe d’Huez with its 21 switchbacks.
“There’s no reason why I would be any worse off than any of the other contenders,” said Froome, who grew up in Kenya and South Africa. “It’s a climbers Tour next year so I’m going to have to work extra hard in the mountains and spend less time on practicing time trialing. It’s also going to be important to be as light as possible so our nutrition will play a key role. There will be new tests for me as an individual, that’s what I’m looking forward to.”
In October, Froome hinted he may try to do the Giro d’Italia-Vuelta a Espana double in May and September instead of the Tour de France in July. He has never won the other two Grand Tours.
“The concept of doing all three Grand Tours in a season has got appeal but having said that, I know how hard it is to do two Grand Tours while targeting the overall win,” Froome said on his website Tuesday. “At this point in my career I feel that the Tour takes priority. There may come a time at some point down the line where other races may take preference, but for 2015, it’s the Tour.”
Froome’s biggest competition in the 2015 Tour de France could come from the three reigning Grand Tour winners — Italian Vincenzo Nibali (Tour de France), Colombian Nairo Quintana (Giro d’Italia) and Spaniard Alberto Contador (Vuelta a Espana).