Chris Froome (Team Sky) says that he could not be more pleased about the way the Vuelta’s first week has gone, which see him in second place overall, ten seconds down on overall leader Joaquím Rodriguez (Katusha).
Rodriguez may have been the one that won the stage to Jaca’s Fuerte Del Rapitán, but Sky were making the running all the way on the climb. And as Froome told Cyclingnews at the start of stage 7, “there’s still everything to race for.”
“I’m in the perfect position, tomorrow [Saturday into the Pyrenees] is more decisive than today [Friday], but there’s still everything to race for, it’s a very open race,” Froome said as he came down from signing on.
Although very pleased about the way Sky’s Colombia climbers, Sergio Henao and Rigoberto Uran, made the race on the Fuerte del Rapitán, Froome doesn’t want to single out any individuals at this point. He’s pleased with all of his eight teammates.
“The whole team has shown such strength, I’ve been really impressed by them,” he said. “It wasn’t at all easy bringing the whole team together for this race, but we did it, and when it comes down to crunch-time, they’re all there. I feel so privileged to be a part of it.”
Four riders - Froome, Rodriguez, Valverde and Contador - appear to be the strongest so far. But Saturday’s stage into the Pyrenees, Froome feels, will be the first true key to seeing which riders are real favourites and which ones are not when it comes to the overall classification.
“Once we’ve got this first chunk of the Vuelta out of the way, then we’ll have a much clearer idea,” he told Cyclingnews. “I’m not going to start naming favourites until then. But I’m very pleased with how both I and the team are doing. I’m exactly where I need to be at this point in the race.”