Chris Froome made a flying visit to Abu Dhabi to attend the UCI Cycling Gala and collect an award for winning the Tour de France. He revealed he has begun light training after fracturing his foot at the Vuelta a Espana and said he would have considered riding the Abu Dhabi Tour if he had not been injured.
The Team Sky rider was given a loud round of applause when he was called on stage with Giro d'Italia winner Alberto Contador and Vuelta a Espana winner Fabio Aru. The three then posed together for photographs, briefly putting aside their Grand Tour rivalry.
"Any Tour de France title is always special but this year I had to work extremely hard for it I think more so than in 2013," Froome said.
"The Tour has got to be the highlight (of the season) for me. The build-up, the hype, the pressure, everything that goes into being ready for the Tour, it's the enormity and intensity of it all. It's one thing planning for it all, it's another actually pulling it on and wearing the yellow jersey all the way to Paris."
Froome's season ended after stage 11 of the Vuelta a Espana in Andorra. A ripple in the peloton on a corner early into the stage forced him off the road and he hit his foot on a low barrier. He has only just begun training again but said he is already thinking head to the 2016 season. He is expected to attend the presentation of the 2016 Tour de France route in Paris on October 20 and then travel to Japan for the Saitama Criterium.
"I've only just started back on the bike. I did three hours the other day but that's about it. I'm just easing back into gradually," Froome explained to journalists at the Cycling Gala.
"I have been thinking about 2016 but we've still to have our team meeting and start the planning process, but it's definitely in my mind now. And the injury in the Vuelta has given that extra little bit of motivation to get back into the season and get back to where I was."
Froome confirmed that he is eyeing a Tour de France and Olympic double in 2016, knowing that the Olympic road race and time trial are both on testing, hilly circuits.
"It's pretty hard to go better than winning the Tour de France but next year is an Olympic year and that would be incredible, to do well in the Olympics also," he said.
Froome watched the final part of the Vuelta a Espana from the sofa at home in Monaco. He revealed he was impressed by Tom Dumoulin's performance as he fought with Fabio Aru for overall victory in the Spanish Grand Tour.
"I think it's great for cycling and great to see more guys coming into that GC contender group and making it more competitive," Froome said, with admiration for Dumoulin.
"His performance stood out because he didn't go there thinking he was going to be fighting for the victory. I think it was good to see. He's been a young rider showing a lot of potential as a GC rider. It was a shame for him, the Vuelta was one day too long for him."