Chris Froome ‘where he needs to be’ for Tour de France
After a difficult Catalunya, Britain’s Chris Froome finds motivation in his team’s success at the Tour of the Alps as he sets his sights on a record-tying fifth Tour de France crown...
The Team Sky era came to an end with an overall victory at Tour of the Alps courtesy of the triumphant performances Pavel Sivakov and Tao Geoghegan Hart.
For six-time Grand Tour winner Chris Froome, the Alps mark a turning point for the 2018 Giro d’Italia winner, who will forgo defence of the maglia rosa to focus on a record-tying fifth Tour de France maillot jaune.
Listen to the Bradley Wiggins Show on Eurosport
The four-time Tour winner (2013, 2015-2017), and 2017 La Vuelta champion, entered the race a heavy favourite along with rivals Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) and Rafał Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe), who finished third and sixth in the GC respectively.
And although Froome finished 11th, 4:57 adrift of his victorious Russian teammate, the 33-year-old believes he is right on track following disappointing races in Colombia (91st in GC) and Catalunya (94th in GC).
"After a difficult Catalunya, I’m feeling more like myself now," admitted Froome. "I think for the end of April, I’m where I need to be for the Tour de France.
"Nibali is going well and is definitely going to be one of the contenders for the Giro title."
Despite not vying for the GC victory personally, Froome claims he finds himself pointed in a positive direction following a race primarily spent supporting his two Sky teammates.
"It’s great that our young guys could keep up and even go better than him [Nibali],” he said. “It was a pleasure to be there this week and guide them in the moments I could, give them some help here and there."
With escapee and eventual Stage 5 winner Fausto Masnada enjoying a sizeable seven-minute lead at one stage, it was Froome who took it upon himself on the race’s key climb to keep Sivakov and Geoghegan Hart in contention for overall glory.
"I was motivated to do that job today and bring that gap down and make sure we kept the lead, as if it was on my shoulders or on Pavel’s shoulders," Froome continued. "I still rode as I hard as I could. I think it creates a positive momentum, it motivates me to want to be there with them longer and to get myself to a winning shape.
"I think now we're entering into the business side of the season for me. It’s great to build on this momentum, keep my head down and keep working for the Tour de France."