Chris Froome (Team Sky) has reiterated that he may skip the Tour de France next year in order to focus on the Giro d'Italia and said that a final decision on his 2015 programme will be taken in December.
When the Tour route was unveiled on Wednesday, Froome immediately voiced his reservations about the course in a statement posted on his website and suggested that he would consider riding the Giro and Vuelta a España instead. In an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport at the Saitama Criterium in Japan, Froome explained his rationale further.
"I love the Tour and nothing has changed from that point of view," Froome said. "But the Giro is really a great opportunity. The course suits me a lot, it’s perfectly balanced. I don’t know how many other opportunities like that I’ll have in the future."
Froome’s principal concern about the 2015 Tour route is the lack of time trialling miles. The sole individual time trial is the 14km test on the opening day in Utrecht and there is a 28km team time trial in Brittany at the end of the first week. The course features eight summit finishes of varying difficulty.
He said that the Tour "will be different than usual" due to the emphasis on climbing and acknowledged that he was more enamoured by the route of the Giro, which includes a 59km time trial in Treviso towards the end of the second week, as well as the usual quota of climbing.
"The route of the Giro is really very well balanced. It will certainly be won by a complete rider and I think that’s what should happen in a Grand Tour – the one who goes best across all terrains should be rewarded," Froome said. "For me it would be an excellent opportunity. The Tour is for climbers and will be decided in the mountains. So I’ll evaluate all the possibilities."
Froome stressed that the decision on his 2015 programme would be taken in conjunction with his Sky team, with an announcement expected before the end of the year. “The team doesn’t make me participate in races that I’m not motivated for, and it’s not useful for me to go to the races that the team doesn’t think are right. We decide our objectives together, and we’ll do that by December,” he said.
While Froome described his participation in the Giro as "possible," he downplayed the prospect of joining Alberto Contador in attempting a Giro-Tour double. "It’s very difficult even if I wouldn’t say it’s impossible. [Riding the] Giro and Vuelta is more realistic. You have time to recover and to show up at each race with a very similar condition."
The owner of Contador’s Tinkoff-Saxo squad, Oleg Tinkov, has offered a prime of €1 million to be shared between Contador, Froome, Nairo Quintana and Vincenzo Nibali should they ride all three Grand Tours in 2015. Froome told Gazzetta that the proposed "Grand Tour Challenge" would not influence his thinking.
"I’m concentrated purely on my programme. And, honestly, I won’t allow others to decide it for me," he said.