Froome up for challenging Tour

Brit ready to defend title on testing route

Last Updated: 31/10/13 3:51pm

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Froome: Looking to reach the heights again in 2014

Froome: Looking to reach the heights again in 2014

Sky Bet

Chris Froome has taken a first look at his main goal for 2014 as the route for the Tour de France was announced in Paris.

"The cobblestones are going to make it interesting, that's for sure."
Chris Froome Quotes of the week

The reigning champion will become the defending champion when he lines up at the start in Leeds, England on Saturday 5 July next year with the number one on his back.

Team Sky have won the last two editions of the world’s greatest bike race and will hope to be in the mix again across 21 stages and a balanced parcours.

With a tough three weeks in store, Froome admitted he liked what he saw. Speaking in Paris at the ASO’s route presentation, the Brit said: “I like it. It’s challenging and it’s got a bit of everything, which is good for the Tour. It’s exactly what we need.”

Following a difficult second day on grippy Yorkshire roads, Froome and his general classification rivals will all be wary of stage five and the run from Ypres to the Spring Classics heartland of Arenberg. Nine sections of cobblestones, made famous by Paris-Roubaix, will greet the riders there.

With the last inclusion of pave in 2010 causing carnage, Froome is well aware that 16km of rough terrain could impact the GC fight. “The cobblestones are going to make it interesting, that’s for sure, and they are going to make a good addition to the race.

“For us as riders, it’s a bit of a risk – there are accidents and mechanical problems that could happen - but it will make the race exciting and begin sort the race out at an early stage.”

Big goal

The 28-year-old was happy to see the reappearance of a summit finish on La Planches des Belles Filles on stage 10. The first of five major summit finishes, the climb brings back fond memories for Froome after winning the stage in 2012, the same day team-mate and fellow race winner Sir Bradley Wiggins went into the yellow jersey.

“It was a very special day for me winning at La Planches des Belles Filles,” he admitted. “I’ll get a special feeling going back there again next year. It’s going to be the first summit finish again – which it was last time – and I think that always marks quite an important day for the GC riders. Before we reach that climb it’s a harder stage than it was in the last edition and maybe we can expect some bigger time gaps next time around.”

After putting time into his rivals in both time trial stages this year, Froome will only have 54km and a solitary stage against the clock to attempt to do the same in 2014.

Despite the event containing the fewest amount of TT kilometres in recent memory, Froome maintained: “I think there is enough time trialling, especially with the one time trial being over 50km. That’s definitely going to sort the race out. It’s predominantly flat, it’s long, and there could be big time gaps there as well.”

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