Chris Froome (Sky) believes his destiny is the Tour de France. Not just this year, when he enters the 2013 edition as the man to beat, but every July for the next several years.
Speaking to The Times following his dominant victory at the Critérium du Dauphiné, Froome said the Tour will be his lone target moving forward.
“I’ve got my goals and personally where I want my career to go is to target the Tour,” he told The Times. “Not just this year but for the next six or seven years and each time to line up at the Tour ready to try and contend for the yellow jersey. I am driven by that goal.”
Froome has been all but flawless so far in 2013, winning four of the five stage races he’s started. He roars into the Tour full of confidence.
The absence of defending Tour champion Sir Bradley Wiggins is not necessarily a bad thing, Froome said. Last year, the pair clashed, but with Wiggins dogged by injury and poor health, Froome will now carry the burden of delivering Sky’s second straight yellow jersey.
“It’s a shame not to have the defending champion, because with Bradley there comes a certain feel of, ‘We’ve got the defending champion, we have more respect in the peloton,'” Froome said. “But it is also nice not to have that continuing pressure from the media. We do have a very strong team and, regardless of Bradley there or not, I do feel we have all our bases covered.”
Froome went on to say his form is even better than last year’s, when he finished second to Wiggins.
“I have been a lot more consistent with my numbers this year and I have been able to hit the numbers that last year I thought were exceptional. And I feel I can still get better,” Froome continued. “Last year I felt: ‘I am really flying now.’ This year I am hitting that comfortably now.”
The emergence this season of Richie Porte, who won Paris-Nice and rode to second at the Dauphiné and Critérium International, gives Froome extra protection on his flanks, as well as on the podium.
“An interesting element now, with Richie sitting second, is in some people’s minds [is that] they are going to have to work pretty hard to get a spot on the podium, let alone trying to go for the victory,” Froome said. “It is probably moving the goalposts a bit.”