Chris Froome (Team Sky) has revealed to Cyclingnews that he came within a whisker of skipping the Tour de Romandie and competing in the Tour de Yorkshire instead.
With a less mountainous course put on by the Swiss organisers, coupled with Froome's long-term desire to race more in the United Kingdom, the Tour de France champion said he had a tough call on his hands when deciding on his Tour de France build-up programme.
Although the Tour de Yorkshire features no mountains, the easier parcours in Switzerland opened up a unique chance to go and compete on home soil. However, with Romandie keeping two rides against the clock, Froome made the difficult call to keep the race on his schedule for the seventh year in succession.
"It was a tough decision to come here or the Tour de Yorkshire. I've wanted to do Yorkshire for a while now, and with this being less mountainous it was a close call. In the end, with the time trial here on Sunday, that's valuable experience," Froome told Cyclingnews after his prologue performance.
"I'm pretty sure I'll go to Yorkshire one day. I'd love to race more in the UK. I've been saying that for a while now, that timing wise there are always events that clash – like this or the Vuelta a Espana with the Tour of Britain and then the nationals coming just before the Tour. I would like to get there one day. The atmosphere when we started the Tour there was second to none. I don't think we've had a Grand Depart like that since."
Froome added that the World Championships in 2019, which are set to be held in Yorkshire, would be a dream to compete in.
"The Worlds in 2019, for sure. I can only imagine what the crowds will be like," he said.
On Wednesday Froome had a quiet opening to his Tour de Romandie, finishing 78th in the 4.8km prologue. Fabio Felline was a surprise winner but Froome lost vital seconds to a number of GC rivals as he took a cautious approach in the wet conditions.
"I wanted to go as fast as possible out there but there's so much at stake if you come off on one of these corners. Pretty much around every corner there was paint on the road. For most of the GC guys I'd expect that they'd just want to stay upright."
Primoz Roglic (Team LottoNL Jumbo) was the best of the overall contenders, finishing just six seconds down on Felline and putting 23 seconds into Froome.
"That was impressive – really impressive," Froome told Cyclingnews. "Roglic has shown his form in these efforts and his pedigree. Twenty-odd seconds to make up is going to be tough, especially over a course that's a lot less mountainous this week."