CHRIS Froome may opt out of the 2015 Tour de France and target a Giro d’Italia-Vuelta a Espana double instead.
The 29-year-old Kenya-born Briton won the 2013 Tour and crashed out of this year’s race, which began in Yorkshire and was won by Vincenzo Nibali.
Rather than chase a second yellow jersey from Utrecht on 4 July to Paris on 26 July, 2015 in the 102nd edition of the race, Froome may instead focus on May’s Giro and August’s Vuelta.
Froome was not in Paris for the presentation of the 3,344-kilometre route, the decisive moments of which will come on the penultimate stage which finishes at Alpe-d’Huez.
Instead he was sailing in Weymouth with the British Sailing squad on a Team Sky training camp and hinted he will not bid for the fabled maillot jaune next summer.
“The team and I will have to give it some careful consideration before we make any commitments to which of the grand tours I will compete in,” he said on chris-froome.com.
“Next year’s Tour is going to be about the mountains. There’s very little emphasis on time-trialling which means the race will be decided up in the high mountains. With six mountain-top finishes it is going to be an aggressive and massively demanding race.
“I see myself as quite a balanced GC (general classification) rider and the Giro with it’s inclusion of a long TT (time-trial) of 60km and tough uphill finishes will make it a well-balanced race which suits me well.
“If I did the Giro I may also be able to get myself back to top shape for the Vuelta and go there with a realistic chance of aiming for the win.”
It was anticipated the 2015 Tour would be a vintage edition, with Froome, Nibali, two-time winner Alberto Contador and Giro d’Italia winner Nairo Quintana all chasing the yellow jersey.
The absence of Froome, who has twice finished runner-up in the Vuelta, including behind Contador in 2014, would take the gloss off the race, but he sees other opportunities.
He added: “In the past I’ve only targeted one grand tour each season but it could be a good opportunity for me to focus seriously on two.
“It’s still early days though and we’ll have to sit down and put our heads together as a team to work out what 2015 is going to look like for us.”
The full route of the 2015 Tour was unveiled in Paris yesterday. After beginning in the Netherlands, the peloton will travel through Belgium, continuing to commemorate the First World War in northern France and then travelling to north-western France.
There is a long transfer to the Pyrenees and a traverse across the Massif Central, with the decisive moments taking place in the Alps. The penultimate stage will conclude with the ascent to Alpe d’Huez, with its fabled 21 hairpin bends, before the ceremonial finish in Paris. Like in 2014, the Tour features a cobbled fifth stage. Froome did not reach the cobbles as three crashes in two days resulted in a fractured wrist and hand and he abandoned the race as defending champion.
Froome is unfazed by the prospect of cobbles in the 2015 Tour, though he may not actually ride on them.
“I actually quite enjoy the challenge of riding on the cobbles,” Froome added.
“It’s a difficult and stressful obstacle for us to overcome when it’s part of a race like the Tour de France, but we’re all in the same boat and there’s no reason why I’d be any worse off than any of the other GC contenders.”
4 July: Stage 1 - Utrecht to Utrecht, 14km (individual time trial)
5 July: Stage 2 - Utrecht to Zelande, 166km
6 July: Stage 3 - Anvers to Huy, 154km
7July: Stage 4 - Seraing to Cambrai, 221km
8 July: Stage 5 - Arras to Amiens, 189km
9 July: Stage 6 - Abbeville to Le Havre, 191km
10 July: Stage 7 - Livarot to Fougeres, 190km
11 July: Stage 8 - Rennes to Mur de Bretagne, 179km
12 July: Stage 9 - Vannes to Plumelec, 28km (team time trial)
13 July: Rest day in Pau
14 July: Stage 10 - Tarbes to La Pierre St Martin, 167km
15 July: - Stage 11 - Pau to Cauterets, 188km
16 July: Stage 12 - Lannemezan to Plateau de Beille, 195km
17 July: Stage 13 - Muret to Rodez, 200km
18 July: Stage 14 - Rodez to Mende, 178km
19 July: Stage 15 - Mende to Valence, 182km
20 July: Stage 16 - Bourg de Peage to Gap, 201km
21 July: Rest day in Gap
22 July: Stage 17 - Dignes les Bains to Pra Loup, 161km
23 July: Stage 18 - Gap to St Jean de Maurienne, 185km
24 July: Stage 19 - St Jean de Maurienne to La Toussuire Les Sybelles, 138km
25 July: Stage 20 - Modane Valfrejus to L’Alpe d’Huez, 110km
26 July: Stage 21 - Sevres to Paris Champs Elysees, 107km