Chris Froome lines up as leader of the British team at Sunday’s world championships road race, but the Sky rider has admitted that it has been harder to motivate himself for the event than it was for the Tour de France.
“I haven’t felt quite the same way about it as I have about the Tour. It hasn’t been as big a goal as the Tour and I think given also that it is a one-day race, it’s quite a gamble, it is a bit of a long shot to go for the win there,” Froome said.
“It does make it a lot harder in many respects but having said that, I’m up for it. I know I’ve done the training. I think a lot of the guys are tired at this time of year and I think anyone who wins on Sunday will need a little bit of luck in their favour. But I’m definitely up for it and giving it the best shot possible.”
With Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland), Peter Sagan (Slovakia) and Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) lining up as favourites to take the rainbow jersey on Sunday, Froome believes that Britain can find common cause with Spain, Italy and Colombia is seeking to make the race as demanding as possible on the repeated climbs of Fiesole and Via Salviati.
“I think taking on the race and trying to make it the hardest race possible and try to isolate the other sprinters and make it more of a climber’s race is the way we’ll push for it,” Froome said. “If I look at the other teams, none of whom I’ve spoken to, but I’d imagine the Spanish would want a very hard race, the Colombians, the Italians, basically anyone who doesn’t have that kind of punchy sprinter like Sagan or Gilbert.”
Froome is well aware that if he is to win, he will need to distance the likes of Sagan on the climbs, although he pointed out that the sheer length of the Worlds – this year’s road race is 280km – is perhaps the most daunting obstacle of all.
“I think if I am to win, I’m going to have to try and go clear on possibly the last couple of laps,” Froome said. “You can be explosive and fast but if you don’t have the legs it’s not going to help you any more. I think it’s going to boil down to whoever’s got the legs after 280km.”
Sunday’s race will also see Froome race in the same team as Bradley Wiggins for the first time since the Tour of Oman in February. While the two Sky teammates have had an uneasy rapport since the 2012 Tour de France, Froome was hopeful that Wiggins could offer support in the finale in Florence.
“He’s definitely in good form. We saw with the Tour of Britain win and riding to silver with a pretty solid ride, I’m expecting Brad to be there in the last few laps in Sunday,” Froome said. “He’s definitely going to be one of the key guys towards the end of the race. It would definitely be great if he could help me towards the final.”
Froome himself appeared to struggle during Sky’s bronze medal-winning ride in the world championships team time trial last Sunday but he blamed those travails on the efforts he put in during the opening kilometres of the race.
“I possibly started a little bit too fast. I made a bit of a mistake there and then I paid the price half way through, when I was hurting quite a bit but it was encouraging for me to feel better toward the end of it again, to start pulling longer turns again,” he said. “So I came away with mixed feelings but generally good, given that it wasn’t something we’d necessarily spent that much time training for.”