After a breakthrough year in which he finished second in the Vuelta a Espana - just 13 seconds behind the winner and a place in front of his more fancied teammate Bradley Wiggins - Team Sky rider Chris Froome is looking ahead to 2012 and to continuing his progress towards the front of the peloton.
Kenyan-born Froome was also part of the Great Britain team that helped Mark Cavendish to gold in the 2011 World Road Race Championships in Copenhagen and finished the season in style with another high profile podium finish at the inaugural Tour of Beijing. And with his confidence growing all the time, the 26-year-old is hopeful of more big things next season.
"I think it's been a steady learning curve over the course of the year that's seen my results improve," he told Team Sky's official website. "I've been putting in the same hours on the bike and I think my improved results are a culmination of a few other things. My awareness during races, for instance, is much better now than it ever has been before and confidence has had a lot to do with that as well - to a massive extent in fact. I've learned to believe that I belong in those select groups once the peloton splits on the climbs, and I know what I am capable of physically now from my experiences at the Vuelta.
"I think it's a little early to be thinking about goals [for next season] right now but I'd definitely like to concentrate on the grand tours next year. In a perfect world getting rides in the Tour de France and the Vuelta would be an ideal situation for me but obviously we'll have to see. With the signings we have made, there have will be a lot of talented riders vying for the same places and that puts the team in a really strong position moving forward. As for me, there will definitely be higher expectations next season but I'm not going to see it as added pressure. I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing and giving it my all - that's all I can do really."