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Chris Froome is 'a long way off' Olympic Games selection, says team coach

Chris Froome drops back to the team car at the UAE Tour
Chris Froome drops back to the team car at the UAE Tour (Image credit: Getty Images)

Great Britain men's road coach Matt Brammeier has told Cyclingnews that four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome 'is a long way off' a place in this year's Tokyo Olympic Games.

The news comes after Froome himself admitted that he had major ground to make up in order to gain a place in Great Britain's four-man team. 

Froome won bronze medals in the time trials at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Games but has been short of top-level form since his career-threatening crash at the 2019 Critérium du Dauphiné.

He has returned to full-time racing but has struggled to reach his former level and while the Tour de France remains his main focus for the season, the reality is that he has just a couple of months to convince Brammeier that he deserves a place on merit. 

Froome competes in the Tour of Romandie this week but selection for the Olympics must be submitted by May 18. Brammeier does not select the final four but he does submit his recommendations to a panel of selectors. In past selections, Brammeier’s choices have been universally backed.

"I recommend the team, I don’t select it but I can say that I think Chris is a long way off. He has said himself that he’s not there yet and he needs more time to get up to speed and to get to a level where he’s fighting for that spot," Brammeier told Cyclingnews.

"We’ve got four spots and it’s not an easy team to fight your way into. Unfortunately, it’s not looking great for Chris on my behalf anyway."

Froome does remain on the official long-list but Brammeier has already narrowed that down to a much shorter batch of names, with Geraint Thomas, Adam and Simon Yates, Tao Geoghegan Hart, James Knox, Hugh Carthy, Luke Rowe, Alex Dowsett, and Tom Pidcock included.

"There's an official long-list that’s quite long but then there’s a narrowed-down group of bike riders who we’ve been in contact with for a long time. We’ve gone through the process with them in terms of how we want to race and what we want to get out of it as a team. It’s been a nice experience to get that group of lads together. It will be special come race days," Brammeier added. 

"The riders I’m seriously considering are Geraint Thomas, the two Yates brothers, Tao, James Knox, Hugh Carthy, Tom Pidcock, Luke Rowe, and Alex Dowsett. Chris is still on the long-list and he could be selected but the biggest challenge is the deadline for selection. I have to give my list of names to a selection panel by May 18, which is two months before the Tour and every nation is in the same boat. 

"Beyond that date, the only way you can change your team is on medical grounds. We have about 30 riders on the full long-list but those first names are my narrowed down list. But that’s just my recommendation; it’s not a selected list."

Great Britain must select two riders from the final four to compete in the time trial but they must also wait on Pidcock’s position because the all-rounder is hoping to race mountain bike at the Games and he cannot combine that discipline with any road ambitions. 

"We’ve got two spots for the TT but they both have to come from the same group of riders. If I believe a rider can win a medal in the TT then they’ll be put forward for selection. It’s that black and white. That’s first and foremost the most predictable performance," Brammeier said. 

"With the road race, we’ve potentially got the best team we’ve ever had in an Olympics. We won’t know about Tom until May 16 and the final mountain bike World Cup. We have to think about that side because it could affect who is best at what job. It’s a bit of musical chairs."

At this point, Brammeier has a good idea of his short-listed riders and who might be able to provide the best performances on the day but the former road rider is also looking for complete commitment to the cause.

"I’ve learned a lot from the previous events I’ve been at as a director and the biggest stand-out thing to me is that commitment and drive to be there. It’s the riders who have been thinking and talking about the event, ringing me up and asking me questions, and it’s really been part of planning throughout the season. 

"Some of the lads are just fitting it into what they’re doing but for some, it’s the be all and end all of their years."

Daniel Benson

 Daniel Benson is the Editor in Chief at both Cyclingnews.com and BikePerfect.com. Based in the UK, he has worked within cycling for almost 15 years, and he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he has reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he runs the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.