Chris Froome (Team Sky) started his 2013 season with victory in the Tour of Oman and went onto win every stage race he finished, including the Tour de France. This year the Team Sky captain has already won in Oman but plans on a different approach to his big goal of repeating his Tour de France victory.
"Certainly not," he told Eurosport France when asked whether the plan was to win every race he started ahead of the Tour. "The goal is to progress steadily and be on top form 15 days before the Tour starts."
The 28-year old rider prepared his season in Kenya and South Africa before heading to Oman where he won the decisive stage on Green Mountain and subsequently the overall classification.
"It was important to be in Africa this winter because it enables me to cut myself away from Europe. But more importantly, I am convinced riding on the roads I once started riding on, is a good way to get to my best possible form to start the season."
The 2013 season marked the definitive breakthrough for Froome by winning the Tour de France. "Yes [it did surprise me] because a victory in the Tour is never certain beforehand. You can never know what happens during the race. It was only at the finish that I said, yes I won this race and now I can relax."
Froome will use Tirreno Adriatico to continue his build up towards the Tour de France. It was the only stage race he lost before the Tour in 2013. "Paris-Nice doesn't have uphill finishes and the stages are shorter than in Tirreno. I think the race has a better level so I prefer to start there. The time trials are the most interesting, one individual and one team time trial. That's an opportunity to see how the team works. The individual one gives me the possibility to see where I stand compared to last year."
While the Briton was dominant in the stage races last year with victories in Oman, Criterium International, Tour de Romandie, Criterium du Dauphiné and of course the Tour de France, he sees points on which he wants to get better. "I can be better tactically but that can only be obtained with more experience. Personally I need to work on reinforcing some muscles to reach an optimal performance level."
Froome sees the Tour de France as a year-by-year project. "I want to give it my best every year. That might be two years, five years, seven years or eight years. Who knows? I just want to be the best cyclist I can be and make the most of my professional career."