Froome ponders bid to win Spanish tour

Joy for Chris Froome after his second Tour de France win. Picture: Getty
Joy for Chris Froome after his second Tour de France win. Picture: Getty
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Tour de France winner Chris Froome could look to double up on Grand Tours this year and race the Vuelta a Espana, which starts next month.

Froome became the first British rider to win two Tour titles on Sunday when he crossed the finishing line in Paris to follow up on his 2013 win.

It was also Team Sky’s third victory in four years after Sir Bradley Wiggins’ 2012 triumph.

Froome rode last year’s Vuelta after crashing out of the 2014 Tour, and there is a thought that – although he finished second to Alberto Contador in the race – it helped get him in the right condition to prepare for the Tour over the winter.

“It’s a bit early to say 100 per cent, but I think, potentially, it could be on the cards,” Froome said.

“I know it would be a massive challenge to go back to another Grand Tour and to go there with the aim of winning the general classification, but that’s in the back of my mind and maybe could be on the cards.”

However, Froome did not sound like a man in a rush to commit to another gruelling three-week race as he enjoys his first day of relaxation after months of Tour preparation.

“It’s not on the Tour itself, it’s the whole build-up, months and months of doing every little thing right, every little detail,” he said. “It’s going to be great to switch off for a few days. I had a bacon buttie this morning. It was fantastic, something I haven’t had in months.”

Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford also told his star rider to enjoy himself before making a decision, particularly as Froome and his wife, Michelle, have a baby on the way.

“The reality is you never know how the guys are going to come out of three weeks of racing,” 
he said. “You need to a have a couple of days to calibrate and see where you are..

“They need to just relax, take time and feel good about what they’ve just done. He’s the first British guy ever to win two Tour de Frances. It’s incredible what he’s done, and I don’t think we should be encouraging him to look ahead at the minute.

“I’d encourage him to relax, just spend a bit of time with your family and look forward to his family side of things with his son coming later in the year, and absorb it all.”

Froome’s Tour de France was all the more stressful for the constant sniping and abuse he received from some who refuse to believe he is riding clean, with Froome and his Sky team-mates facing attacks on and off the bike as they were spat at and, in Froome’s case, doused in urine along the roadside.

That was something Froome addressed in his victory speech on the Champs-Elysees when he spoke of honouring the yellow jersey and its history – a point he reiterated yesterday.

“Given the history of the sport and where it is currently, I think it’s really important to make that point,” he said. “The sport has turned around and, for me, I’m in a privileged position to be able to speak out about the current level of the sport and where we’re at in that regard, just to reassure people that this isn’t going to be a rerun of the likes of some of the guys we’ve seen before us.”

Brailsford revealed that he is already planning for another assault on the yellow jersey. He said: “I would like to think it’s business as usual. We’ve won a bike race and we’ll go keep on winning them as much as we can.

“When you’re up there and you do it for the second time I’m not sure it has the same level of impact, maybe, as you did first time round.

“We’ve just won the Tour de France. It’s great, but it doesn’t do it for me. I don’t have a firework that goes off inside me like other people do. I wish I did, but I don’t.”

What does drive Brailsford is defeat, and when Froome crashed out of the 2014 Tour with a broken hand and fractured wrist, it was painful for the Team Sky principal, too.

“I was pretty upset last year,” he added. “When I don’t win, like last year, it was horrific. I wasn’t in a very good place.

“I get embarrassed by it, humiliated. It’s a horrible experience and I’ll do anything I can to get out of that.

“Great victories only come through massive defeats. You’ve got to go through those horrific moments if you really want to get to big, big results.

“If you just want the middle ground, do all right, it’s all okay – that’s not what we want.”