Chris Froome Targets Olympic And Tour De France Glory In 2016

13 Jan 2016 08:56

Chris Froome has grand ambitions of an Olympic double and a third Tour de France crown this year after committing his future to Team Sky.

The two-time Tour winner announced on Tuesday he will extend his Team Sky contract until the end of 2018, adding two years to his existing deal, then outlined an ambitious plan for 2016.

While a third Tour crown is his overriding priority, the 30-year-old has been to Brazil for an Olympic recce and believes the challenging, climbing-heavy courses in Rio de Janeiro for both the 260km road race and 59.6km individual time trial suit his strengths.

"When I rode Rio and looked at the time trial course, I thought, 'This is fantastic, I'd love the chance to get stuck into this time trial'. Then I went and rode the road course the next day and just felt, 'If there's a one-day course I could win, it would look something like this'."

Pursuing the dream will not be so straightforward. The Olympic road race takes place on August 6, 13 days after the Tour finishes in Paris, with the time trial on August 10.

Froome acknowledged he will face a battle to secure Britain's only place in the time trial, while the Kenyan-born rider, not noted as a one-day specialist, described the challenge of winning the road race as "complicated".

"Teams of a maximum of five riders...260 kilometres... you can't rely on too much teamwork with four team-mates," he said. "With that amount of climbing, it's almost every man for himself."

Froome won bronze in the Olympic time trial won by Sir Bradley Wiggins in London in 2012, just 10 days after he finished runner-up to Wiggins in the Tour, and the experience has left him hungry for more.

"It felt massive even on the back of the Tour we'd had," he said. "It felt enormous. You almost can't believe how overwhelming the Olympics are, bigger than just your sport."

However, even in Olympic years Froome's summers are built first and foremost around July, and cycling's biggest race. Victory in 2015 made Froome Britain's first two-time winner of the Tour, and his next goal is back-to-back titles.

With Lance Armstrong stripped of his titles, no rider has won back-to-back Tours since Miguel Indurain completed his run of five straight wins in 1995.

"A lot of people say 'defending your title' but I don't feel that's my mindset," Froome said. "I am going there to challenge for a third title. I don't feel I am defending something. I am going to get something. It's a different way to look at it. It helps with my motivation."

Sky and Froome hope that sorting his contract renewal early will also clear a path for Froome to stay focused.

"It's really positive way to start the season, knowing we can go into the year with that sorted and won't have to sort it out halfway through the Tour or anything," Froome said.

Sky team principal Sir Dave Brailsford places an emphasis on avoiding complacency and staying hungry, but has no worries that Froome will lose any of his fire even with his future secured.

"With some guys we might not have done it this way," Brailsford said. "Some guys might have the money in the bank and then sit back and relax. But I don't think Chris is like that.

"He is hungry. He's a winner. I actually think it works differently for him. Stability, not having to worry too much about his future, it's a big element in him being able to perform."

Froome's perspective has changed since he became a father last month, but while long training camps away from home might be harder to deal with now, he promised it would not change his hunger levels.

"That's always a worry for me, that I become too comfortable," he said. "As long as I'm aware of that, that's something I will keep trying to challenge myself on."