Froome happy with Tour progress
Build-up continues with Dauphine victory
Last Updated: 13/06/13 7:25pm
Froome has momentum behind him
With victory at the Criterium du Dauphine in the bag Chris Froome is happy with the latest step in his Tour de France preparations.
"Beating some of the biggest names in cycling definitely gives me a lot of confidence and tells me I'm in a good position"
Chris Froome Quotes of the week
The Kenyan-born Brit claimed the biggest win of career in emphatic style as Team Sky continued their run of stage race momentum just three weeks out from the start of the Tour in Corsica.
Taking a third consecutive victory in the prestigious race – the first time the feat has been achieved since the sixties – showed a team getting ready to hit top form, with Richie Porte following Froome home for a 1-2 finish.
With a ninth victory of the season (and fourth stage race success) now under his belt, the 28-year-old admits his confidence his building as the results pile up.
“I think beating some of the biggest names in cycling like [Alberto] Contador definitely gives me a lot of confidence and tells me I’m in a good position for where I need to be,” said Froome.
“I’m sure it gives me and my team-mates a lot of confidence to ride for me but having said that, the Dauphine is the Dauphine and the Tour de France is a different race. We’ll see at the Tour who is in top form and after the first week we should see who the favourites will be.”
With the Dauphine having been expected to be a showdown between a number of key contenders heading into the Tour, riders and fans alike emerged from the race with a number of questions unanswered regarding form.
Widely regarded as some of the biggest rivals to Froome and Team Sky during the Tour, Contador finished the race 10th after suffering with allergies on the stage four time trial, while Joaquim Rodriguez placed 16th after eight days.
Froome is certainly not reading too much into those results, reasoning: “Obviously Contador’s strategy changed throughout the week and on Saturday he started riding to help his team-mate Michael Rogers to try and defend third place. I’ve come away with the victory here which leaves me very content and I’m in a good position for this time of year but other riders like Contador are really strong and are not to be disregarded in any way because even though he was riding for his team-mate, it was clear he was very strong and he’ll definitely be a contender come July."
The final stage to Risoul saw the team control proceedings again before Froome and Porte mounted a bid to take one final piece of glory in the form of the stage win.
Tantalisingly unable to shut down Alessandro De Marchi, Froome explained the decision to ride together in the closing kilometres. “I didn’t see any point in leaving Richie. We were riding together over those last few kilometres and he rode for me so I started pulling for him as well so he could consolidate his second place. It would have been nice for us to go for the stage but we’d already had two victories during the week at the Dauphine.”
Another success whilst leading the line for Team Sky continues the growth of Froome’s palmares since the start of the season – with wins at the Tour of Oman, Criterium International and the Tour de Romandie marking him out as the form rider heading into July.
Despite the pressure that brings, Froome is happy to continue growing as a leader. “I’m always learning and trying to improve different aspects of my riding,” he added. “I do have a feeling of calm after winning the Dauphine though. It’s never a comfortable position being in the leader’s jersey. You have hundreds of things going on in your mind at the time and it’s nice to get that out of the way now. This next week I’ll be able to focus on doing more recon for the Tour and putting the final touches to my training.”
Attempting to win the Tour de France is a massive under taking, but when it comes to getting the job done, Froome feels the experience the team, riders and staff gained last season will be invaluable.
Pulling on a leader’s jersey 15 times himself in 2013, Froome is able to draw comparisons with the build-up Sir Bradley Wiggins used to great success in 2012.
“If you look at how Bradley tackled the season last year, it started off after a strong winter of training and meant he started the season well. He won almost all his races heading into the Tour and that set a good model for me to follow. Having said that, it wasn’t my goal to win all these races before the Tour de France - I was using them to test my form and see what needed to be done in terms of my training and preparations for the next races coming up.
“The way the team works, I wouldn’t say I’ve been in peak condition this season, but I’ve been building my form since February all the way from Oman up to this point now, and hopefully I’ll arrive at the Tour in even better form still.”