Christopher Froome has said that he is set on doing the Vuelta a Espana for a second year running but that he will have to see what his race condition is like after completing the Tour de France and the 2012 London Olympics.
“The plan is to do it,” the Sky rider told Cyclingnews, “but I just have to finish up here [on the Tour] first and get through the Olympics unscathed and still on track and then we can see about the Vuelta. I’d like to do it.”·
Froome finished the Vuelta in second place overall last year, one place ahead of teammate Bradley Wiggins, which still remains - for now - Sky’s best ever finish in a Grand Tour and was a breakthrough performance for Froome himself. Froome also led the Vuelta briefly after finishing second in the mid-race time trial at Salamanca behind Tony Martin, later that season crowned World time trial Champion.
On the ascent to the ski station at Manzaneda two days later, however, Froome worked hard for Wiggins before falling back three kilometres from the summit finish, with the Londoner finishing off Froome’s good work by dropping Dane Jakob Fuglsang (RadioShack), a key rival, and moving into the overall lead.
Froome finally finished second overall behind Juan Jose Cobo, just 13 seconds back after Cobo dropped the Sky duo on the Angliru. In a dramatic duel with Cobo a few days later at Peña Cabarga, Froome finally claimed a summit finish stage win but the overall lead remained just out of reach.
Should Froome return to the Vuelta, which kicks off in Pamplona on August 18th, his main rival would almost certainly be Spain’s Alberto Contador, who is due to make his Grand Tour return in his home race following a two-year suspension. Other key rivals would include long-time Giro leader Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) and Cobo (Movistar).
Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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