Chris Froome has confirmed that the Tour de France will be his major objective for the 2015 season.
Following the presentation of the route in Paris in late October, Froome hinted that he was unhappy with the lack of time trials in the race route and was considering targeting the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a España. However after sitting down with the Team Sky management to plan his season, Froome has opted to focus on the Tour de France, even if he will face a fierce battle in the mountains against 2014 winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) and especially Nairo Quintana (Movistar).
Froome crashed out of the 2014 Tour de France but bounced back to finish second overall in the Vuelta behind Contador.
The announcement comes 24 hours after it emerged that Bradley Wiggins could ride the Giro d'Italia, possibly as his last ever stage race with Team Sky, as he prepares for an attempt on the Hour Record in June 2015.
It seems Froome will only tackle one Grand Tour in 2015 and the Tour de France is his number one priority. He pushed back on Oleg Tinkov's idea that the leading Grand Tour riders should all ride the Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and the Vuelta a España in the season.
"Of course, together with the team, we've had to prioritise some events over others, but the Tour will remain my main focus for 2015," Froome said in a statement published on both his personal website and the Team Sky site.
"The concept of doing all three Grand Tours in a season has got appeal but having said that, I know how hard it is to do two Grand Tours while targeting the overall win. At this point in my career I feel that the Tour takes priority. There may come a time at some point down the line where other races may take preference, but for 2015, it's the Tour."
Extra mountain training
Froome accepted that he and Team Sky will have to adapt to the mountainous route of the 2015 Tour de France. He is planning extra mountain training and less work for time trials.
"There is no doubt that this Tour de France is going to be a tough test, but I enjoy the challenge and there's no reason why I would be any worse off than any of the other contenders. It is our responsibility as a team to adapt accordingly so that we can be as competitive as possible there," he said.
"It's a climbers' Tour next year so I'm going to have to work extra hard in the mountains and spend less time on practising time trialling. It's also going to be important to be as light as possible so our nutrition will play a key role. There will be new tests for me as an individual, that's what I'm looking forward to."
Ruta del Sol season debut
Froome is training in South Africa after recently getting married to long-time partner Michelle Cound. He is expected to attend Team Sky training camps in Mallorca in December and January before making a low-key season debut at the Ruta del Sol in southern Spain in mid-February.
"I've enjoyed my time off, and now I am concentrating on preparing myself mentally and physically for the season ahead. I've started training in the warm weather in South Africa where I have been able to get some decent miles in on the bike," he said.
Froome will head to Tasmania this week to ride the Stan Siejka Classic criterium in Launceston with teammate and close friend Richie Porte.