As the year comes to a close, Chris Froome is about to embark on his preparations for next season. His racing schedule is somewhat fluid at the moment, and rumours abound as to which Grand Tour Froome will pin his flag to. If they are all to be believed then Froome will be mounting his own one-man Grand Tour challenge in 2015. The finer details will be laid out when Team Sky holds its training camp in December but for Froome it isn't all about which races he is attending.
"My key goal is just returning to good condition and being at the front of a race again. That's a really big motivation for me," he told the Teamsky website. "Whether it's the Tour or any other race, it's what I love doing. I love racing and being able to compete at the front – to be with a team of guys who you enjoy being with, and who you work together well with. That's what gets me through the winter when I'm riding those long hours on my own."
Froome's turbulent season has been well documented, from the inhaler debate at the Tour de Romandie, to his crashes at the Tour de France and finishing second to Alberto Contador at the Vuelta a España. With just six victories to his name this year, it is a stark contrast to 12 months ago where he ended the season with 13, including the Tour's general classification. However, Froome tries to take the positives from it all.
"I think there will always be ups and down in everyone's career. That's sport, and especially our sport. It's full of unpredictable hurdles," he explained. "I'm really happy to have got through the season in good stead. The Tour was a disappointment but I've still got a few victories I can be happy about this year.
"Finishing the Vuelta off in such a decent way, after having all the setbacks that for me was probably more important than anything else. It means I'll be able to go forward into next year without starting from a negative position. I can go in with a clean slate and give it my best shot."
The team Sky rider has enjoyed some much needed time off since finishing his season at the Saitama Criterium, travelling through India and making a trip to the Himalayan mountains. He topped it all off by getting married to his girlfriend Michele Cound last weekend. After the short break, the 29-year-old is itching to get back on the bike.
"I'm actually really hungry to start training again and keen to get back going," he said. "As usual I'll be based between Europe and Africa over the winter. I'll see how it's going and how the conditions are as that will dictate where I train."
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