Team Sky's Chris Froome thinks his team could have won more at this year’s Tour de France. The British team finished the race with one and two on the podium with Bradley Wiggins and Froome and won six stage wins, but the Kenyan-born Briton told Cycling News HD thinks the team could have done even better.
“There were some moments of the race, where we were overly cautious,” says Froome. “Perhaps we would have been too greedy, if we were too ambitious. I do believe we could have got more out of the race, without compromising the yellow jersey.”
Mark Cavendish definitely believed he could win more and is the principal reason he broke his contract with Team Sky to join Omega Pharma-QuickStep. The Manxman told The Telegraph newspaper recently that he thought the team treated him as a “back-up” rider. Froome agreed.
“I think his comments are just. Certain promises were made to him that weren't fulfilled. I can empathise with that,” he says.
Cavendish was under the impression the team would help him defend the green jersey, but says the team management reneged on their promise. As far as Froome was aware, the team only had one goal.
“He's a great stage winner and contester for the green jersey and this year he had to put those ambitions aside for the team to focus on the yellow jersey. I definitely know that, in the team, the focus was to get the yellow jersey more than it was to get the green jersey.”
As Wiggins’ chief lieutenant, in this year’s Tour, Froome had his own battles to fight. Rumours of tensions in the team erupted when Froome 'attacked' Wiggins on the climb of La Toussuire on stage 11. Many thought Froome might try to win the Tour for himself. He says this isn’t the case and insists he is a team player.
“In sport you always think the strongest guy should be going for it and getting the best results. The thing is cycling also has a very important team aspect, which I don't think that a lot of people fully grasp."
“Being professional cyclists we have a responsibility to the team and their objectives. I was just doing my job at the Tour and people were asking me if I could do more.”
Plans for 2013
While the 27-year-old hasn’t had official word from the team, things are beginning to point towards him leading Team Sky at the 2013 Tour de France.
“It hasn't been 100% confirmed, but that is how things are shaping up at the moment,” he says when questioned on the subject. “Bradley has announced that he wants to focus on the Giro. I think that would mean that I can focus on the Tour.”
With Wiggins looking to win his second grand tour at the Giro it remains to be seen if he can and will return the favour and help Froome at the 2013 Tour. Froome knows firsthand how difficult it is to contest two grand tours in succession. He struggled to stay with the top guys at the Vuelta a España after feeling the fatigue from his exploits in July.
“It is hard to say beforehand how a rider will come out of a grand tour. I found this year, with the Vuelta, that trying to do two grand tours in quick succession is a hard ask."
“I think that is a call Brad is going to have to make next year, because if we go there with the goal of winning yellow then we are going to have to be at our absolute best.”
Cycling News HD
The full exclusive interview with Chris Froome will appear in next week’s issue of Cycling News HD, out on Wednesday 14 November. This week’s issue, out now, looks back at the Giro, and talks to winner Ryder Hesjedal and pink jersey holder Taylor Phinney.
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