Chris Froome (Sky) had mixed emotions at the end of his second grand tour of the year, the Vuelta a España where he finished a credible fourth place, 10:16 down on race winner Alberto Contador. The 27-year-old had be touted as a potential race winner by Contador and while he began the race strongly, fatigue began to show itself towards the second half of the race.
"It’s slightly disappointing not to come away with more - obviously we had high ambitions coming here. But having said that, I’m not disappointed with how we rode, and how I rode. I know I gave it everything and I know the team did a fantastic job to look after me and support me. In that sense there’s no disappointment at all," Froome told Team Sky.
It was Froome’s first time as the designated leader and while he had finished second overall at last year’s Vuelta, this would be his true test of whether he can handle the pressure of leading a team throughout a grand tour. He demonstrated that he’s up to the task, just perhaps not off the back of this season.
"For me it’s been the first time leading the team and being in a position where I need to tell the guys around me what I need to get me though the race as best as possible," he said.
It was perhaps overzealous to expect Froome to contest for the overall Vuelta title after a brilliant Tour de France performance, where he won a stage and finished second overall to teammate Bradley Wiggins. The Kenyan-born rider has now earned a deserved rest ahead of a decision on his participation at the UCI Road World Championships.
"It’s been a huge learning process. I think there’s so much we can take away from this race. Personally, I now know where my limits are in terms of doing two Grand Tours back to back," he said.
"I’m in long need of a rest now! I’ll definitely put the feet up for a few days, and if I can come around in time, go to the World Championships road race. The main emphasis for the next few days though will just be switching off and relaxing," he told Team Sky.