Tour de France: Froome confidence fuelled by his crack team

Tour de France: Froome confidence fuelled by his crack team

03 July 2015 / 06:50

Chris Froome believes he's got the best team support to regain his Tour de France title.

This year's race - which starts in Utrecht on Saturday - is being billed as the most open of all time with former winners Froome and Alberto Contador pitched against defending champion Vincenzo Nibali and Nairo Quintana, who finished second 12 months ago.

On first glance the lack of time trials - there is a team time trial on stage nine - doesn't play into an obvious Froome strength.

The first week - which will see the reintroduction of time bonuses for the first three finishers - has a profile that will suit classics specialists.

And Team Sky's Froome has bad memories of last year's early stages, pulling out on stage five after three falls in two days.

"We've got a stronger team, we've got lots of classics guys in our line-up who have experience of this kind of racing and hopefully they'll keep me safe in that first week," he said.

"You never know what will happen in bike racing but I can take confidence from being surrounded by such a great group of guys and hopefully we can get the job done.

"It's going to be a very open race considering its structure. For any of the general classification contenders before that race even starts we need to get through those first nine days.

"You can't even begin to think about how you'll ride in the mountains until that first week is over. It's basically a different Classic every day and it's going to be tricky.

"The fact there are no time trials means we'll just have to race harder in the mountains and we need to adapt to what the race gives us. The team time trial could be quite pivotal in this race and it could really change the dynamic."

Froome, one of ten British riders in this year's Tour, won the Critérium du Dauphiné, considered the best indicator of form, last month - the race he also won before winning the yellow jersey in 2013.

And he claims that form and his experience gives him a mental advantage over rivals.

"That was a good boost for confidence and it shows where I need to be physically," he added.

"The hard work is done, it's in the bank. You don't want to get to the Tour feeling tired and I feel as fresh as possible. I might not have the best climbing legs in the first week but the plan is to be at my best by the third week.

"There is no secret formula or best way of being competitive. I feel I'm improving as a rider and there is always something to work on. The more races I do, the more I feel a little competitive advantage over the younger guys."

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