"I think that Chris was a bit nervous at the start as he didn't know exactly where his form was, but he's a natural competitor and as soon as he sees an opportunity he tries to take it," said Brailsford.
Asked for his first impressions of Froome's form in 2014, Brailsford said they were "very good". He continued: "I think that he has dealt with his winter commitments well, which is normally quite a difficult thing to do after a first Tour de France victory, because there are always so many demands from all sides – from sponsors, invites to events…
"But he's worked very seriously in South Africa and you can see here that he's passed the first test without any problem. There's less pressure on him than last year and as a result we've been able to work on tactical things."
Pressed on how he felt Froome has responded to last July's Tour victory, Brailsford said: "Everyone is different, we've seen the same things with Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton [on the track]… After a big victory it's always difficult to go back to your everyday life, but Chris is a serious person and for him the goal is not to win the Tour de France once, but to do it several times.
"He is really focused on that and has got a lot of ambition. If you just focus on getting a result and you manage it to achieve it, things become difficult because there is nothing more to achieve. But if your goal is to win again and again, then the work continues after that first victory."
When asked how the decision on whether to select 2012 Tour champion Bradley Wiggins for the Tour will be made, Brailsford stated selection will be based on just one factor: building a team to support Froome and win the Tour again. "It was the same for the Olympics, when we had to select the British team and choose between Chris Hoy and Jason Kenny, for example. We've always done that without taking emotions into account. We will see how things are when we get towards June, and we will take the best team. It's as simple as that."
Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).
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