Chris Froome says that if any rider can do the Giro d'Italia-Tour de France double, it's Spanish rival Alberto Contador - but still remains skeptical it will be achieved.
By
Cycling Central

7 Apr 2015 - 5:20 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:35 PM

Froome was speaking to journalists at Team Sky's pre-season training camp in Spain, where the British squad is gathered as its first formal orientation for the 2015 season. Froome, who's only recently returned from Australia having done the bulk of his early pre-season in Tasmania with team-mate and friend, Richie Porte has his ambitions set on winning a second Tour de France in 2015.

The Brit crashed out of contention for the world's biggest bike race in July when he fractured his left wrist and right hand while the race was winding its way through northern France, leaving the Brit unable to control his bike properly. It was a disappointing exit, and denied fans the hyped showdown they'd been expecting between him and Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo).

Froome however has redoubled his efforts and focus on rubbing his 2014 woes from memory with another dominant ride at this year's Tour. But chief among rivals again, will be Contador. Despite Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) being the defending champion, Contador, Froome believes, will be the Brit's biggest impediment.

Contador however may have bitten off more than he can chew with a bold attempt to ride both the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France. The "double" was last achieved in 1998 by the infamous Marco Pantani, and has since seen many riders try, and fail to emulate it. Froome told reporters he knows how good Contador is, and believes he can do it, but prefers to keep his own powder dry exclusively for the Tour.

"(Contador) was winning the Tour back in 2007," said Froome. "So he's been doing this for a good few years, and he knows how to get himself ready for a race like the Tour de France but for me personally I know how hard it is to do two Grand Tours back to back and to be going for the win in both Grand Tours, so for now my priority is the Tour de France.

"Given that where I am right now, that I'm 29 years old, and coming into my best years as a professional cyclist and that the Tour de France is the biggest race for us, I think it would be a loss to miss the Tour," he said.

Contador flagged his Giro-Tour double attempt back in September, an achievement he hopes will push him to "take on a new challenge and have a new motivation." The Spaniard too has a formidable team around him to mount the challenge, with Rafal Majka, Michael Rogers and Jesus Hernandez all expected to ride in support of Contador's ambitions.

But Froome too has his own world-beating armada, the Brit's Sky team has recruited wisely in the off-season, including Nicolas Roche from under Contador's own nose. Last year's Tour revelation Leopold Konig will also join Sky, and Dutchman Wout Poels.

"I would definitely say that we're starting with the strongest roster, throughout the team, that we've ever had on Team Sky," Froome said. "We have a lot of strength in depth that we can choose from and hopefully that will mean that our Grand Tour teams are the strongest that we've had yet."



The Tour de France begins 4 July in Utrecht, The Netherlands. SBS will broadcast every stage of the event live.