Froome tar­gets se­cond dou­ble at worlds

The Borneo Post (Sabah) - - SPORT -

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

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