Champion Froome eyes Rio

British rider Chris Froome of Team Sky wears the overall leader's yellow jersey during Stage 20 of the Tour de France, a 146.5km section from Megeve to Morzine-Avoriaz, on Saturday.
British rider Chris Froome of Team Sky wears the overall leader's yellow jersey during Stage 20 of the Tour de France, a 146.5km section from Megeve to Morzine-Avoriaz, on Saturday. PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

After winning his third Tour de France in four years, Briton gears up for two Olympic events

PARIS • With a third Tour de France title secured yesterday, Chris Froome quickly set his sights on more glory at next month's Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

The British cyclist, who won the Tour in 2013 and last year, was crowned the champion again after yesterday's largely processional ride from Chantilly to the Champs Elysees in Paris.

The Rio Olympics are his immediate priority and he may participate in the Tour of Spain later next month. But the Vuelta and the other grand tour race, the Giro d'Italia, are not really on the Team Sky rider's radar even if only six men have managed to win all three of them.

"For now my focus is on the Tour de France, given it's such a special race," he said. "It would be my dream to keep coming back to the Tour for the next five to six years if I can and give it my best shot. I hope I can do that next year.

"I might do the Vuelta this year but with my focus on the Tour it's difficult to commit to the Giro."

  • Where the race was won this year

    How's that for starters?

    Chris Froome comes through the early stages much better than his main rivals. Alberto Contador crashes on the first two days while Richie Porte also loses ground.

    Froome then moves ahead of Nairo Quintana and rounds off the second Saturday by punching a spectator, apparently dressed up as a chicken.

    Perfect descent

    The defending champion makes his move on Stage 8 with a surprise attack on the descent into the finish at Bagneres de Luchon. The yellow jersey is now his.

    Run for your life

    The most bizarre sight of the whole Tour - Froome jogging towards the finish line on Stage 12 after Richie Porte crashed into a motorbike and brought Froome and Bauke Mollema down with him.

    Froome's bike is broken and, when a replacement reaches him, he struggles to get his shoes into the pedals.

    By the time he is back in the saddle, he is well down on his rivals but the times are amended to take into account the crash and the yellow jersey remains with him.

    Passing the trial

    Froome has always been a good time-trial rider but is eclipsed by the Netherlands' Tom Dumoulin in Stage 13. Last Wednesday, however, the Briton strikes back emphatically in Stage 17, finishing 21 seconds ahead of Dumoulin to take the second time trial and extend his lead to 3min 52sec.

    Down but not out

    The rain comes down on Friday and Froome is not the only rider to fall in treacherous conditions. Fortunately, Sky team-mate Geraint Thomas is at hand to offer his bike for use and Froome is even able to extend his lead as second-placed Mollema falls back in the general classification.

    THE TIMES, LONDON

Yesterday, Froome, 31, joined Belgium's Philippe Thys, American Greg LeMond and France's Louison Bobet on the list of triple winners.

Ahead of them are five-time champions Miguel Indurain of Spain, Belgian great Eddy Merckx and Frenchmen Bernard Hinault and Jacques Anquetil.

Before training again with next year's Tour in mind, Froome will take part in the Rio Olympics where he will be among the favourites for the road race and the time trial - an event he decided to contest six months ago.

"It's a course that suits me well. I took bronze in London in the last Olympics and it would be incredible to win a medal again this year," he said, referring to the time trial.

In 2012, he finished third behind fellow Briton Bradley Wiggins and German Tony Martin, and his time trial performances on the Tour - second and first - suggest he could be a contender on Aug 10.

On his way to Rio, Froome will take part in the RideLondon classic next Sunday.

"Now a bit of recovery after this race. It looks like next weekend we're going to London for the one-day race before we fly to Rio and then we will start training a bit more again," he said.

Froome travelled to Rio last November to check out the Olympic courses, a trip that encouraged him to sign up for the time trial.

Tom Dumoulin, the favourite for gold in the Rio time trial, broke his arm in a crash on Stage 19 of the Tour, though the Dutchman is still hoping to compete in Brazil.

"I think it's a course that suits me well, with almost 1,000m climbing and 60km in length. It's going to be an extremely tough event," Froome said.

"I took the decision to ride the time trial about six months ago and I've been working a lot on my time trialling this year with that in mind."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 25, 2016, with the headline 'Champion Froome eyes Rio'. Print Edition | Subscribe