Ahead of winning the prologue of the Tour de Romandie, Chris Froome reiterated that he will head Sky’s Tour de France challenge, insisting that he is “100 percent the leader” of the team. He finished second overall last year behind teammate Bradley Wiggins, who will this year ride the Giro d’Italia before lining up at the Tour, ostensibly in support of Froome.
“I’m 100 per cent the leader, that hasn’t changed since January,” Froome told Sky Sports. Asked whether that was also Wiggins’ reading of the hierarchy, Froome said: “You’re going to have to ask him, but from what I understand everyone’s bought into that plan and that’s how we’re going to go into the Tour.”
Trainer Tim Kerrison confirmed that Sky’s current plan is to designate Froome as team leader come July and he has looked to replicate Wiggins’ approach of twelve months ago by winning a string of shorter stage races in the build-up to the Tour.
“We’re going into the race with the rider who we believe has the best chance of delivering as the designated leader,” Kerrison said. “For the moment, we’re preparing Bradley to ride the Giro and to perform at the Giro, and Chris Froome to be the leader at the Tour de France. As we get closer to the event we’ll look at the form of all of our riders and make sure we have the strongest team to win the race.”
Froome has already claimed victory at the Tour of Oman and Critérium International so far this season, while his Sky teammate Richie Porte won Paris-Nice. The only kink in Sky’s stage racing dominance to date came at Tirreno-Adriatico, when Froome was ousted from the race lead by Vincenzo Nibali, but Sky’s remarkable strength in depth has been striking.
“It’s such an opportunity and such a privilege to be that last guy who’s protected all the time. It’s quite a feeling,” said Froome.
Froome was a dominant winner of the hilly prologue at the Tour de Romandie, beating Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) into second place by 6 seconds, as well as catching his minute man Dani Moreno (Katusha) on the 7.45km course.