Tour de France remains the big goal
Chris Froome (Team Sky) has hinted he will target fewer races in 2014 but the Tour de France will remain his major goal of the season.
After a disappointing performance at the world road race championships, Froome will end his European season at Il Lombardia on Sunday. He will head to Japan for the Saitama Criterium created by Tour de France organisers ASO before enjoying a holiday in Kenya.
Froome talked about 2014 and how he will work to improve his position on the bike to Gazzetta dello Sport during a visit to bike sponsor Pinarello. On Monday he also visited shoe sponsor Sidi with his fiancée Michelle Cound. Froome won 13 races in 2013, including the Tour de France, the Tour of Oman, Critérium International, the Tour de Romandie, the Critérium du Dauphiné. He was also second in Tirreno–Adriatico and finished third in the world team time trial championships with Team Sky.
"My 2014 season will be more or less the same as this year. But with less stress," Froome explained.
"This year it was important to get to the Tour after having won some races and gained experience on to handle all the extra responsibilities like the podium and interviews. I don't need to do that next year."
Froome could be a guest at the presentation of the 2014 Giro d'Italia route on Monday in Milan but seemed to rule out any chance that he will target both the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France in 2014.
"If you go for the Tour, you can perhaps do the Giro in support of a team leader. But I don't think people would understand if a champion doesn't fight for victory," he said.
"The Giro is tactically very difficult. In France, if you're in the form of your life, you win. That's not the case in Italy. Remember Tirreno? I was the strongest but Nibali won."
Improving his position
Froome dominated the Tour de France, thanks to superior time trialing skills and high-speed attacks on the climbs. He believes he can improve further in 2014.
"For sure, starting with my position on the bike, where I'm not good looking even if my position works," he admitted.
"My elbow and knees stick out. I've got to improve my efficiency and I can also improve my aerodynamics. I've also got to work on my strength and on my tactics."
Froome insisted his success is down to hard work as much as natural talent.
"Natural ability counts but only to a certain point. I didn’t win the Tour de France after two years but after ten years. Ten years of about 30 hours of training a week, about 15,000 hours in the saddle, which is about half a million kilometres."
"Bobby Julich has helped me. He saw in training that I had great numbers but that I struggled to produce them in races. He convinced me to stay relaxed in races and taught me when to attack on the climbs. It seems simple but it's not."
Little hope for Lombardia success
Froome leads the UCI WorldTour individual ranking but could lose the top spot to Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) if the Spaniard wins the race and Froome fails to score points. Froome will lead Team Sky in the final WorldTour race of the season but after his poor performance at the world championships, he tipped Rodriguez to win.
"I didn’t have good signs (of my form) at the Worlds but that's normal. I've had a very intense season. Rodriguez will win, he deserved to win the world title too but Rui Costa rode a perfect race."
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