Team Sky's Froome will use the Tour of Britain to inform a decision on whether to push through to the titles in Innsbruck, Austria or finish a dramatic 2018 season of ultimate highs and damaging lows.
Speaking at a pre-race press conference in Newport, Wales overnight, the 33-year-old highlighted the difficulties of the 258.5km title course surely factoring into his call.
“I did the Tour of the Alps this year where we did laps on part of the race circuit and it’s a brutal race." Froome said. "Unless you’re in absolute top condition I don’t think it’s a race you can hide on the wheels. It’s going to show exactly what form you’re in."
“In regard to the world championships, I think, see how this week goes and maybe make a call after that. I’m not here with massive aspirations but we’ve got a good team and hopefully we’ll be in with a chance of trying to get one of us onto that top step of the podium.”
Froome returns to racing here for the first time since his third-place finish behind teammate Geraint Thomas and Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) at the Tour de France.
The 2018 Giro d’Italia champion opted to compete at the eight-stage event alongside Thomas, over a Vuelta a Espana title defence, more in part of what’s transpired than a purposeful build-up to Austria. In addition to a heavy race load, Froome this year also handled intense scrutiny around his now closed salbutamol case and welcomed his second child with wife, Michelle.
“Being at the Vuelta every year obviously meant I couldn’t be here but after four grand tours in a row, I think it was time for me to take a step back from the grand tours,” he said.
“I have definitely pushed it as far as it can go. I did take a bit of a break after the Tour – a good 10 days off the bike – but I’ve been training well now for the last few weeks.
“I think it really is a case of seeing how the legs feel this week and if I feel as if I can get to good racing speed at the end of this week, in terms of Worlds, that will be fantastic,” Froome continued. “l will be able to judge once this week is done just exactly where I’m at and if it’s worth pushing on or time to call it a day for the season.”
Great Britain is yet to announce its squad for the worlds and it’s equally unclear if Thomas will compete after his blockbuster season that has included a maiden Tour win and overall victory at Criterium du Dauphine.
The Tour of Britain starts tonight (AEST) with an undulating 174.8km run through south Wales. The race notably features an uphill team time trial on stage five that has caught the attention of contenders.
“We’re expecting an amazing atmosphere out on the roads and I’m really looking forward to it,” Froome said.
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