Froome targets second double at worlds
BERGEN (Norway): Chris Froome will spearhead the Sky team at the World Championships in Norway as the Tour de France champion aims for a second double of his stunning 2017 season.
The 32-year-old is already enjoying the greatest year of his career having claimed a Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana double for the first time.
And now he will aim to add to that a pair of time-trial victories in Bergen as he competes for Great Britain on Wednesday in the individual time-trial, just three days after representing Sky in the team time-trial alongside former road race world champion Michal Kwiatkowski and Commonwealth Games champion Geraint Thomas.
Froome’s insatiable appetite for success was evident on the final stage of the Vuelta less than a week ago as, already assured of securing the overall winner’s red jersey, he sprinted to an 11th-placed finish to add the green points jersey to his haul and deny Italian sprinter Matteo Trentin.
Now the four-time Tour de France winner wants to add a world title, or two, to his growing list of accolades. Froome has twice won bronze in the Olympic time-trial event while he was part of the Sky team that also finished third in the team time-trial in Tuscany in 2013.
The week-long world championships begin on Sunday with the men’s and women’s team time-trials.
The men’s race is a 42.5km race around Bergen.
Sky will have their work cut out to beat the two teams that have dominated this event since it was re-introduced amongst professional teams rather than national federations in 2012 following an 18year hiatus: Quick-Step and BMC.
Belgian reigning champions Quick-Step have won it three times with Americans BMC triumphing twice.
However, Quick Step have lost four-time individual time-trial champion Tony Martin since their victory in Doha 12 months ago and Sky’s sporting director Brett Lancaster is feeling confident.
“The plan is to go for the win. It’s a very strong line-up and, fresh off the Vuelta win, the guys are going to be really motivated,” said Lancaster.
“The course is very rolling and there’s a climb that finishes with around 10 or 12 kilometres to go.
“It’s quite steep and I think with the team we’re taking and the likes of Froomey, (Gianni) Moscon and Geraint, that suits us.”
Belarussian Vasil Kiryienka, the 2015 individual time-trial world champion, and Owain Doull, a member of the British team pursuit champions alongside Bradley Wiggins at the Rio Olympics last year, complete Sky’s six-man lineup.
Froome will face stiff competition in the individual time-trial, not least from German Martin and his Sky team-mate Kiryienka, although the lumpy terrain does not favour either.
Dutchman Tom Dumoulin, the Olympic silver-medallist behind Swiss Fabian Cancellara last year and winner of the Giro d’Italia in May, should challenge for the title alongside Australian Rohan Dennis.
Two-time reigning champion Peter Sagan will be the man to beat in next Sunday’s men’s road race, the world championships’ finale.
On rolling terrain, Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet and Norwegian pair Alexander Kristoff and Edvald Boasson Hagen should also feature strongly.
In the women’s road race next Saturday, Dutch quartet of threetime champion Marianne Vos, Annemiek van Vlueten, Olympic champion Anna van der Breggen and Ellen van Dijk will provide the strongest challenge from any individual country. - AFP
Great Britain’s Christopher Froome, wearing the overall leader’s yellow jersey, crosses the finish line of the 37,5 km individual time-trial, the thirteenth stage of the 103rd edition of the Tour de France cycling race on July 15, 2016 between Bourg-Saint-Andeol and La Caverne du Pont-d’Arc. - AFP photo