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Froome impressed with Boswell at two-man camp in South Africa

  • By Gregor Brown
  • Published Feb. 25, 2016
  • Updated Feb. 25, 2016 at 5:00 PM EDT
Ian Boswell made his grand tour debut at the Vuelta a Espana last year. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

MILAN (VN) — Two-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome says American Ian Boswell is making impressive progress. The two Sky cyclists are training together in South Africa this week.

Boswell, 25, began his season in Australia and is building for the Giro d’Italia in May. The British super team wants him to help it win its first Giro title with Mikel Landa.

“Ian’s based in Nice [France] so we’ve done a fair bit of training together on the Côte d’Azur, so it’s been good to have him out here with me,” Froome said on Sky’s website.

“He really impressed everyone at the Vuelta last year and has got a big season ahead of him with his sights set on the Giro team this year. This camp will certainly lay the foundations for his preparations for that.”

Boswell, who hails from Bend, Oregon, raced his first grand tour last year in his third pro season with Sky. His impressive ride included a third-place finish behind Landa and eventual overall winner Fabio Aru of Astana in the monstrous stage across Andorra. He also made a notable leap when he helped Froome win the Critérium du Dauphiné stage race in June.

Sky general manager David Brailsford was impressed and has already put Boswell on the team’s long list to race the Giro d’Italia, May 6-29. He said by no means is it a B-squad at the Giro; Sky is going full-gas to win its first title at the Italian grand tour.

Boswell is not only giving Froome company in the South African high-altitude camp as he prepares for the Vuelta a Catalunya, but he is also helping himself prepare for the Giro.

“We’re in the Mpumalanga region in the northeast of the country, up in the hills near a small town called Pilgrim’s Rest. We’re staying in some self-catering lodges at a place called Crystal Springs Mountain Lodge. We’ve seen a fair bit of wildlife come wandering through — a pair of elephants, baboons, monkeys, waterbuck, kudu and even some zebra. There’s a lot of game around here, completely different to the rest of our training camps in Europe,” Froome said.

“It’s something I’ve done for the last two years and was keen to do again. We were hoping to get a few more riders out here this time around, but a few guys got ill or injured so it ended up just being myself and Ian.”

Last year, Froome trained with Dutchman Wout Poels around Crystal Springs at 1,700 meters. Monkeys found their way into their lodging and took all the energy gels and bananas they had.

Froome and Boswell returned from the Herald Sun Tour for a few days and then left Nice on February 14 for South Africa, where Froome spent part of his youth and has a second home. They stay there until February 28. Froome said he is a “fair weather cyclist” and that he prefers training in warm weather to racing in Europe this time of year.

“We’re spending long hours in the saddle and put in some tough rides, but that’s exactly what we need at this time of year,” Froome said. “We’ve been doing a lot of different sessions – similar to most of our training camps really – just getting miles in the legs and spending time on the climbs. The terrain’s very hilly, and with there being only two of us here we’re certainly not spending any time sitting in the wheels.”

Boswell talked about his training with Froome on his podcast.

“I’m trying to learn as much from Chris as I can,” Boswell said. “Here we are in an intense and huge block of training. I see his work ethic and how he follows training to a T, and how he tries to get the most out of himself. I’m just someone to chit-chat with, otherwise with the hours on your bike, it’s lonely here by yourself. It’s a win for everyone.”

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Gregor Brown

Gregor Brown

Bikes kept Gregor Brown out of trouble growing up in Oklahoma — BMX, freestyle and then watching Greg LeMond's Tour de France wins on CBS television's weekend highlights shows. The drama of the 1998 Tour, however, truly drew him into the fold. With a growing curiosity in European races and lifestyle, he followed his heart and established camp on Lake Como's shores in 2004. Brown has been following the Giro, the Tour and every major race in Europe since 2006. He will tell you it is about the "race within the race" – punching out the news and running to finish – but he loves a proper dinner, un piatto tipico ed un vino della zona.

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