With the ‘100 days til the start of the Tour de France’ celebrations formally kicking off the start of the countdown for Le Grand Depart in Yorkshire, defending Tour de France champion Chris Froome (Team Sky) says he is already sensing the growing anticipation and revealed he will travel to Yorkshire to study the opening stages.
“You definitely pick up that buzz on the social media,” Froome told Cyclingnews during the Volta a Catalunya. “People are really talking about it, and people are getting excited about it and geed up about it now we’ve got 100 days to go. For us riders, it’s the same things, we’re slowly getting the same buzz. It almost feels like the countdown to the Olympics again.”
Asked what he knew about Yorkshire and whether he had already visited it, Froome answered: “Not a lot, but I’ve been through it on the Tour of Britain a couple of times, round that kind of area.”
“My initial thoughts are ‘Wow, that’s going to be a tough place to have a bike race, especially the start of the Tour when you’re going to have 200 plus guys on the start line who are really nervous, everyone wants to get into yellow in the first couple days and have the experience of leading the Tour de France.”
“It’s going to be pretty chaotic and we’re definitely going to have our hands full on the riding side of things and trying to take in the experience. It sounds like it’s building up to becoming something incredible.”
Froome plans to go and do a reconnaissance of the Yorkshire stages.
“I’ll build that into the schedule in the next couple of months, two or three days, go and ride those, especially the very hilly second stage,” he told Cyclingnews.
Froome’s teammate and 2012 Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins has said that he is more worried about that stage than the Roubaix cobbles, a feeling Froome concurs with.
“Certainly. The climbs around there are brutal, not very long, but steep. It’s going to be a very selective stage.”
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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