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Defending Tour de France champion might return to Vuelta for a third consecutive year.

Photo: Unipublic






28.03.2016 @ 09:20 Posted by Jesper Ralbjerg

Team Sky leader Chris Froome is giving serious thought to participating in the Vuelta a España for a third straight year in 2016, after the Tour de France and the Olympic Games, confirmed Team Sky's sports director Nico Portal.


Speaking to Cyclingnews before stage 7 of the Volta a Catalunya, Portal said, “He’s thinking it over. It’s not a pre-season objective but it’s a race he likes a lot. It’s like the Volta a Catalunya: he likes to do it, the level is very high, and in the Vuelta a España the weather’s almost always very good. That all suits him.”


Currently, however, the focal point for Froome is his form as he continues his preparations for the Tour de France, and in Portal's judgement “he’s going very well and we’re really happy with his condition right now. Compared to last year at this point in time, when he was ill”- and lost over half an hour in one stage of the Volta - “he’s doing fine. He’s in good shape, and he’s been training well.”


Given the presence of many of the top names in the business in this year’s Volta, the Catalan race was a crucial test which was highlighted by Froome’s spell of six weeks away from racing. That, according to Portal, only added to the positive impact made by the Sky leader during the past week.


“All he’s lacking is the top-end speed, which comes with greater competition. On the two big mountain stages that decided the race, Chris was up there until the very last part of the stage, where there were the big accelerations. When you see all the top names here, it’s very encouraging.”


Next on Froome's race itinerary is the Tour of Romandie, sandwiched in between periods of training. Compared to previous years, Froome has a rather light race schedule in the early parts of the current season as he intends to finish the year with the Tour, the Olympics and, possibly, the Vuelta.


“He’ll go to training camp, then his next race will be the Tour of Romandie, then he’ll go back to training and then it’s the Dauphiné and the Tour,” Portal said. Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Portal told Cyclingnews, is ruled out for now.


“It’s a slightly light race program, but then in the second half of the year he’s got the Tour and the Olympics,” and, perhaps, the Vuelta a España, too



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