Froome to make Vuelta a España decision in next week

Tour winner on criterium circuit

Chris Froome (Sky) has intimated that he will make a final decision on his participation in the Vuelta a España in the next week.

The Tour de France winner is expected to line up in the race, which gets underway in Marbella on August 22, but speaking at a criterium in Castillon-La-Bataille, near Bordeaux on Tuesday evening, Froome said that his programme was still to be confirmed.

“I’m leaving myself another week or ten days to decide, I’ll need to see with my team as well,” Froome said, according to L’Équipe.

The two men who stood either side of Froome on the final Tour podium, Movistar’s Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde, have already confirmed that they will line up at the Vuelta, while Vincenzo Nibali – 4th at the Tour – will be part of a triumvirate of possible winners at Astana, alongside Fabio Aru and Mikel Landa.

Froome has participated in three of the past four Vueltas, placing second overall in 2011 and 2014, and finishing in fourth place in 2012. He opted to forgo the race after winning his first Tour in 2013, preferring to race in the United States and Canada instead.

Since winning this year’s Tour ten days ago, Froome has ridden in criteriums in Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark and France, though L’Équipe reported that he skipped a lunch hosted by criterium organisers near Pitray on Tuesday afternoon, preferring to train alone for four hours ahead of the evening’s event.

“A criterium is less intense than a race, you can take it as recovery,” Froome said. “But it’s true that I’m starting to get tired. Above all, I want to go home. I’ve been on the road a long time.”

Froome was abused by a small portion of spectators during his Tour victory last month but he was warmly received by the paying fans at the criterium in Castillon-la-Bataille.

“It’s disappointing to see certain behaviour but I wasn’t injured,” Froome said. “I understand where the hatred comes from, I understand that cycling has a past. I’m happy to be in my position and to show people that you can win the Tour without doping and without cheating.”

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