Chris Froome celebrated the Christmas holidays with his wife Michelle and young son Kellan at home in Monaco but will soon travel to Australia for his season debut at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race on January 29. He will then ride the Herald Sun Tour between February 1-5, trying to defend his victory of 2016.
Froome will avoid the European winter by spending three weeks training in South Africa. He will not ride Paris-Nice or Tirreno-Adriatico, racing in Europe for the first time at the Volta a Catalunya in late March. He is likely to mix other Team Sky training camps at altitude into his programme as rides the Tour de Romandie at the end of April, the Criterium du Dauphine in July, and then the Tour de France in July.
“It’s a programme that I’m used to,” Froome said to Gazzetta dello Sport in an interview during his visit to shoe sponsor Sidi. He has already confirmed he will not emulate main rival Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and attempt the Giro d’Italia-Tour de France double, preferring to follow the training and racing programme that helped him win a third Tour de France last summer.
Froome predicts an open Tour de France in 2017 but did not seem especially happy with the race route.
“Lets say it’s a very different Tour to usual. There are only three mountain finishes and only one of them is long and hard,” he said.
“I think everything will be decided on that one day, also because the time trials are very short. It’ll be a more open race and that could make it spectacular to watch.”
Mont Ventoux: the moment of the year
Froome’s moment of panic, when he ran up the final part of the stage on Mont Ventoux won the Moment of the Year in the Cyclingnews reader poll. He sportingly accepted the news on a running machine and now smiles about the most chaotic moment of the season.
“I can laugh about it now but it was a crazy moment,” Froome said. “I was riding to win when with Mollema and Porte, then we suddenly found ourselves on the ground. I saw that my bike was out of action and I knew the team car was a long way back, so I started running. And I didn’t even slip…”
Life as a father
Froome posted a photo of Kellan dressed as an elf on Christmas day and revealed to Gazzetta dello Sport that becoming a father had changed his life. On December 14 he reposted a photograph of him holding a newly born Kellan but was sad that he was at a Team Sky training camp and not at home.
“My son has changed my life for the better,” Froome said. “He’s given me more peace of mind. Now when I’m at home… I’m at home. Michelle is a great mother and very attentive. Kellan sleeps from seven at night till seven in the morning. We’re lucky.”