Froome in Colorado, 2013. photo twisted spoke
This just in and we are breathless: Chris Froome went back on his threat to ride the Giro d’Italia instead of Le Tour after seeing a total lack of time trial K’s in France.
Quelle surprise, as the Frenchies would say.
Sure, Froomey was miffed when ASO boss CHristian Prudhomme crafted a climber-friendly Tour de France route for 2015. The South African made sad noises of disappointment and got a little hissy in the media but did anyone really think he was gonna miss the big show, the highest profile race of the year, the cage match with Contador and Nibali and Quintana?
Was he ever really serious about missing Le Grand Shindig? Of course not.
That was just the usual off-season nonsense. The silliness that happens when people just start yammering without any thought to ramifications. Froome wants to prove the 2013 win was no fluke and he wants revenge for crashing out of the 2014 edition and opening the door wide for Vincenzo Nibali to grab all the fame and fortune and yellow maillot.
Once he came to his senses, the Tour came back into focus. Plus, Sky management no doubt reminded Froome that the weather in May in Italy can be atrocious in the mountains. After Le Tour, Nibali questioned Froome’s bike handling skills. If the SKy captain is worried about crashes, don’t bother showing up for the Giro. Buy the DVD and watch the 2014 edition: the weather was apocalyptic.
The skinny Froome does not function well in rain, wind and cold. Nibali has beaten Froome in several races when the weather has proved a factor. A team like Sky prides itself on controlling all the variables and does not function well when forced to improv tactics. While he’s working on it, team boss David Brailsford hasn’t figured out yet how to control the weather.
Froome does far better in July in France and August in Spain.
After further review, Froome came to the same conclusions. “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.” Duh.
Even Froome’s new wife Michelle Cound could have explained how this would go down. Her mean simply shifts his training to more climbing and less time trialing. Froome is one of the best climbers in the world and so a mountainous Tour doesn’t put him at any disadvantage with a few tweaks in the training program.
“It’s a climber’s Tour next year so I’m going to have to work extra hard in the mountains and spend less time on practicing time trialling,” said Froome. “It’s also going to be important to be as light as possible, so our nutrition will play a key role.”
Now that’s a scary thought: Froome even skinnier than he was last year. More than a few cycling critics openly wondered if Froome was on some serious weight-shedding drugs when they saw him at the 2014 Tour. An even more emaciated Froome will bring back bad memories of the Chicken, Dane Michael Rasmussen.
Nevertheless, the Sky master-plan for Froome’s victory in the 2015 Tour de France now takes shape: more climbing, less food and absolutely no Wiggins.