Chris Froome

Chris Froome says Tour de France will be ‘main focus’ in 2015

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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).

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Eliud Kipchoge sets next marathon

Eliud Kipchoge
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Eliud Kipchoge will race the London Marathon on April 26 before he is expected to defend his Olympic title in Japan on Aug. 9, which would mark the shortest break between marathons of his career.

Kipchoge, who in his last 26.2-mile effort became the first person to break two hours at the distance, won all four of his London Marathon starts, including breaking the course record in 2016 and 2019.

His time this past April 28 — 2:02:37 — is the third-fastest time in history. Kipchoge has the world record of 2:01:39 set at the 2018 Berlin Marathon. His sub-two-hour marathon in Vienna on Oct. 12 was not in a record-eligible race.

Kipchoge’s previous shortest break between marathons came in 2016, when he also ran London and the Olympics. The Olympics will be two weeks earlier in 2020 than in 2016.

Kipchoge, 35, has won 11 of 12 marathons since moving to road racing after failing to make Kenya’s 2012 Olympic track team.

He has yet to race the two most prestigious marathons in the U.S. — Boston and New York City — but has said they are on his bucket list.

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Canadians become first female doubles luge team in World Cup

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WHISTLER, British Columbia (AP) — Caitlin Nash and Natalie Corless made luge history Saturday, becoming the first female team to compete in a World Cup doubles race.

The 16-year-olds from Whistler combined to finish 22nd in a field of 23 sleds, though that seemed largely irrelevant. There have been four-woman teams in what is typically called four-man bobsledding, but luge has never seen a pairing like this until now.

The German sled of Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken won the race in 1 minute, 16.644 seconds. Germany’s Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt finished second and the Russian team of Vsevolod Kashkin and Konstantin Korshunov placed third for their first medal of the season.

The U.S. team of Chris Mazdzer and Jayson Terdiman placed 11th.

But the story was the Canadian teens, who qualified for the World Cup event on Thursday. They were nearly a half-second behind any other finisher and almost 2.7 seconds back of Eggert and Benecken. But they’ll forever be able to say that they were winning the race at one point — a technicality because they were the first ones down the hill at the Whistler Sliding Center, but accurate nonetheless.

The only sled they beat was the Italian team of Ivan Nagler and Fabian Malleier, who crashed in the second heat.

There are women’s singles and men’s singles races on the World Cup luge circuit, but there is no rule saying doubles teams must be composed of two men. There have been more female doubles racers at the junior level in recent years, and it was generally considered to be just a matter of time before it happened at the World Cup level.

That time became Saturday.

Canada had the chance to qualify a second sled into the doubles field because some teams typically on the circuit chose to skip this weekend’s stop, and Nash and Corless got into by successfully finishing a Nations Cup qualifying race on Thursday.

They were 11th in that race out of 11 sleds, more than a full second behind the winner and nearly a half-second behind the closest finisher. But all they had to do was cross the line without crashing to get into Saturday’s competition, and earned their spot in the luge history books as a result.

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