Tour de France winner Chris Froome has admitted his fears over rumours that next year’s race could include sections of cobblestoned roads.
With the full route of the 2014 Tour – which starts in Yorkshire – due to be announced next Wednesday, speculation has been growing after reports emerged of Tour director Christian Prudhomme scouting cobbled roads in the north of France.
“Cobbles have been mentioned and that does ring alarm bells for me,” Froome, 28, told Cycling News. “I know they will be ringing for others as well. The little climbers will hate the cobbles.”
While cobbles are common in the Classics, many riders fear they can add too great an X-factor to stage races due to the high likelihood of accidents or mechanical issues, particularly in wet weather.
“The thing that worries me about cobbles isn’t necessarily the riding over the cobbles bit,” Froome added. “I’ve done Paris-Roubaix before, I know what that’s like – it’s tough. I admit I probably wouldn’t be at the very front of a cobbled stage with guys like [Fabian] Cancellara and [Thor] Hushovd.
“I accept I wouldn’t be able to follow them, but there’s no reason I shouldn’t be able to stay with [Alberto] Contador, [Nairo] Quintana, [Joaquim] Rodriguez and [Vincenzo] Nibali on cobbles like that.
“What worries me about cobbles are the crashes, the mechanical problems. A mechanical problem in the wrong moment of the race when things are kicking off could lead to you losing the Tour.
“I’m not a big fan of that. Someone shouldn’t lose the Tour due to a mechanical fault.”