Feature: Chris Froome thrilled with first week at Vuelta a España
Aug 28 2017 06:58 pm CET

Feature: Chris Froome thrilled with first week at Vuelta a España
Feature: Chris Froome thrilled with first week at Vuelta a España
Photo of Chris Froome © Mary Cárdenas / CyclingPub.com

Chris Froome went into the rest day of the Vuelta a España having earned a strong stage victory on the Cumbre del Sol, and took a moment to talk to a small group of journalists including CyclingPub.com.

The Team Sky leader was clearly in a good mood as he received the reporters on the top floor of the new race hub, a rather impressive structure with, considering the Spanish heat, very necessary air conditioning.

Froome currently leads the general classification ahead of Esteban Chaves and Nicolas Roche, and couldn't have hoped for a better first week.

"I'm definitely pretty happy with the start of this year's Vuelta, especially considering that up until now we've only had three four-kilometer climbs coming into the finish during this first week," he said. "Obviously the race organizers wanted it this way to keep things relatively close together. To already be in this position after those short climbs, I think it's a dream scenario for us.

"The way the team handled the pressure that we were put under with those guys that were so close in the GC going in the breaks, having to chase behind and backing it up consecutively. The guys have just been fantastic and they can take a lot of credit away from this first block of the race."

Froome has made it a goal to truly target the Vuelta this year, and has good reasons for doing so. "It would certainly be a lot easier to be on holiday right now with my family somewhere, with my feet up and waiting for next year's Tour to be revealed.

"But the Vuelta is a race I genuinely enjoy racing. Back in 2011 it was the race where I first discovered that I could ride with the GC guys up the sharp end of the mountains. Obviously my time trial has always been there for me and that was the first time I could put it all together in a three-week race.

"I have some pretty special memories from the Vuelta. Obviously the conditions suit me, the sweltering heat is great for me. It's a great atmosphere out on the road. The Spanish get right behind the race and you can really feel the support for all the riders, not just the Spanish riders. They appreciate a good, aggressive race and that's exactly what the Vuelta is."

As has been clear from the last few stages, the Vuelta's design allows Froome and Sky to take more risks and choose to attack more often, whereas the Tour demands a more conservative riding style.

"Generally speaking it's a much more aggressive race. Pretty much every day is a GC day here in the Vuelta. In the Tour de France there are only three mountain top finishes so there is very little room for error in the Tour. So if you get something wrong, like I did on the Peyragudes stage, I lost the Yellow Jersey. That almost makes you want to focus on the time trial which is my forte. I wasn't willing to put everything in and risk losing everything as well. Here in the Vuelta you've got so many mountain top finishes and so many climbs at the finish, I can afford to gamble a little bit and give it a go one day and if it doesn't work out I will do things differently tomorrow."

Froome hadn't won a stage in the Tour, which added to his reasons to be more than happy with his victory on the Cumbre del Sol.

"I think it comes with the territory, especially this year at the Tour. Obviously that was our main focus of the season, to win the Tour de France. If that meant that playing it safe on a daily basis and making sure that I was always on the sharp end but never absolutely emptying myself to win the stage, that was the way to win the Tour.

"Here at the Vuelta there are more opportunities to gamble a little bit. With 3,500 k's in my legs from the Tour and another 2,000 k's in training after the Tour I've certainly got a bigger base to get into the Vuelta and to feel more comfortable on the climbs."

The Peyragudes stage in the Tour de France was a good opportunity to take knowledge into the Vuelta, considering that the Spanish race has so many short, steep climbs.

"If anything, to take away from that stage it's the fueling. I got my fueling wrong on that stage and just had nothing left. I think that's a lesson learned and one hopefully that I'm not going to repeat."




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