Froome favourite for fifth Tour win
In winning four Tour de France titles and finishing runner-up in another, Chris Froome has not only seen a good variety of route options but consistently shown that he is capable of adapting to and gaining an edge on all of them. While the 2018 edition only features a paltry number of very hilly individual time trial kilometres, where the Sky leader is likely to have a significant edge on the specialist climbers, Froome’s huge ability in the mountains ensures he has plenty of terrain in which to evade his rivals and secure a record-equalling fifth Tour crown.
Froome, picked out the first half of the race as the most complicated. “Anything can happen on stages that you don’t know, like those to Quimper and Mûr de Bretagne,” he said, adding that he expected those opening stages to be “nervy and dangerous”.
Yet, with a typically strong Sky team behind him, Froome will be confident of reaching the Alps on close terms with his main rivals. Those three Alpine stages should then offer him a launch pad towards the yellow jersey and the chance to employ his well-honed tactic of gaining a lead and then defending it.
The UCI’S decision to cut Grand Tour teams from nine riders to eight next season could impact on Sky’s ability to control the race in the tight way it has done since 2012. Yet DS Nicolas Portal doesn’t think it will have the impact the ruling body and ASO hope it will, pointing out that on four of the five occasions Sky have claimed the title, they have not finished with a full roster in Paris.