Froome: ‘Felt like under-23 racing out there’
Grand Tour triple crown winner and pre-race favourite Chris Froome enjoys first day on the bike at the pre-Giro primer Tour of the Alps as Sky teammate Tao Geoghegan Hart sprints to first pro victory …
Hart was not the only Sky rider having a pleasurable day on the bike over a picturesque post-Easter Sunday afternoon in Kufstein, Austria.
“That was good fun racing, it felt like under-23 racing at some points, just uncontrolled and no one wanted to take responsibility,” explained Six-time Grand Tour winner Chris Froome, who will forego his Giro d’Italia title defence next month to attempt his fifth Tour de France crown.
“We used our numbers in the final both with Tao and Pavel Sivakov, both in that move with [Vincenzo] Nibali and [Rafal] Majka over the top of that last climb,” he continued, referring to his fellow GC rivals. “Unfortunately, that didn't stick and came back together, but it meant that our guys were at the front coming into the final few kilometres and we were able to cover all the moves.
“Tao just edged the sprint and managed to hold on to it.”
The 33-year-old Kenyan born Brit crossed the line just outside the top five following a chaotic sprint to end the 144-kilometre opening day in the second-largest town in Tirol.
“I rolled over in [sixth] place today,” said Froome. “I think and that's all right straight after a big block of altitude. It's good to be back racing. Sounds like my throat is closed up after an intense final, but it's good to be back racing.”
Tour of the Alps resumes on Tuesday with the longest — and arguably the toughest — stage of the five-day UCI Europe Tour road race — a 178.7km stage from Reith im Alpbachtal to Schenna/Scena featuring two categorised climbs, including the Passo del Giovo / Jaufenpass (Cat.1) rising to 2,094 metres in elevation with 40km to go.
For full stage and race results, click here.