Chris Froome has said that he wants to target the Tour de France “for the next six or seven years” as he continues his preparations to tackle the race as Sky’s outright leader for the first time this year.
Froome was a deluxe domestique for Bradley Wiggins last year and finished in second place behind his leader, who became the first British winner of the Tour. Speaking to The Times, the 28-year-old Froome said that he was not driven by the prospect of fame.
“I don’t feel like I am looking for fame or looking to be recognised for something,” Froome told The Times. “I’ve got my goals, and personally where I want my career to go is to target the Tour, not just this year but for the next six or seven years. I am driven by that goal, not from a fame point of view.”
Wiggins will not ride the Tour this year due to a knee injury sustained during his unsuccessful bid to win the Giro d’Italia, putting an end to any speculation over the leadership of the Sky team at the Tour. Although manager Dave Brailsford reiterated Froome’s place atop the hierarchy throughout the season, Wiggins’ status as defending champion meant that the issue was bound to linger.
“It is a shame because with Bradley, there comes a certain feel of, ‘We’ve got the defending champion, we have more respect in the peloton,’” Froome said diplomatically, before adding: “But it is also nice not to have that continuing pressure from the media.”
Froome enters the Tour as the favourite for overall victory after a campaign that has yielded four stage race victories to date, including last week’s Critérium du Dauphiné, where his Sky team once again controlled affairs. The race also saw Froome comfortably see off the challenge of Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff), who is widely expected to be his biggest rival for yellow in July.
“If there are riders flying up the sides, you start to feel in trouble but that didn’t happen,” Froome said of Sky’s control in the mountains. “Katusha put us under pressure at certain moments in the race and then just disappeared. Contador went, sat 20 metres in front of us and then came back. That leaves us with a great feeling.”
Froome has reconnoitred some of the Tour’s Alpine stages since the Dauphiné finished on Sunday and will then undertake a week-long training camp at Châtel. He is set to skip the British championships and will not race again until the Tour starts in Corsica on June 29.