EXCLUSIVE: Chris Froome Interview Stage 14

EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Chris Froome after a day he snatched second place back on the GC after popping rival Nibabli.

In the Tour of Spain, today had been talked about as being a decisive day for Bradley Wiggins and his teammate Chris Froome and they rose to the challenge and then some.  They have both been revelations in the race; Wiggins confirming his potential in being capable of winning a race of this stature and Chris Froome coming out of the shadows of being a ‘normal’ domestique to a rider capable of challenging the very best in the mountains in his own right.

Every race has its ‘magic moment’s and today had many and pretty much all involved Wiggins and Froome. Talking to Chris Froome as he and the team relaxed in their team bus on the long transfer to the hotel, he explained “surprisingly, I felt pretty empty after yesterday for the first 100k.”

“I even went to Brad and said ‘I’m not feeling too great today’ but as the race went on, and we picked up the pace a little bit, I think I snapped into race mode again and started feeling super towards the end.”

For those old enough to remember the great Robert Millar and the damage he would do in the mountains, seeing both the Brits today (Saturday) put their rivals under immense pressure was no doubt an equally satisfying  pleasure.

Was their double act in the final kilometres of the race an impulse racing move or planned I asked Chris? He replied, “I asked Bradley how he was doing on the last climb and he said he was feeling alright so we made the most of it and tried to get a bit of gap over our GC contenders. It was always the plan today that if the moment arose that we could put them under pressure that we would we do so.

When Chris went to the front, last years winner, Nibali, went backwards and popped. Asked how that felt, Chris replied “it was a fantastic feeling to hear on the radio that they were going out the back.”

“When we went, we really did go quite hard so I am not that surprised they went out the back but I was also definitely expecting them to be up there today. Brad flicked through with I think 5k to go which gave me the sign that we were good and now was the time to go. That was perfect as I felt great too and so I picked up the pace and went for it.”

“Maybe tomorrows climb will suit them a bit better.”

So far in the Tour of Spain, both Bradley and Chris have been quite awesome but then Brad has shown that ability before in the Tour de France. For many watching the race, Seeing Chris up there forcing the pace, putting riders into trouble has been a surprise. Asking Chris has his race so far exceeded even his expectations; he replied “I have always thought I had the potential to ride up there in the big tours.”

“But it is a fantastic surprise  to see it is coming together so well. I am obviously doing something right which makes me really really happy.”

“It goes without saying, that none of this would be possible without the support of the team. The rest of the guys have just been fantastic in looking after us and keeping us up there every day. Ian (Stannard) is a motorbike! The number of kilometres he has spent on the front in the wind keeping the pace up and keeping the breakaways contained certainly deserves a big shout.”

It’s now a few days since Chris handed over the leader’s jersey to his teammate Bradley and asked how that time in the leaders jersey was for him, Chris replied “That was an experience of a lifetime -I can’t say more than that really. It was incredible and mind blowing to be in that position and totally unexpected.”

“At the moment, I am only seven seconds off Brad and that is a big mental boost knowing that I am still right up there. Going forward, this will give me a lot more confidence in future Tours.”

The Tour of Spain right now is about the mountains. Today, the climb was expected to suit the likes of Nibali and Rodriguez rather than Wiggins and Froome. The latter showed that wasn’t the case in style and Chris says that the final climb was quite similar to the last ones where things have gone well for them.

“It wasn’t a huge gradient but was certainly hard enough for us to be able to keep the hammer down and hurt some legs.”

And the Anglirú I asked?

“I think mentally today has put us in a very good position over the other GC contenders. I think they would have taken quite a blow being dropped on a climb they probably felt they would gain time on us. Tomorrow is a different situation, a lot steeper, a lot harder, and the last opportunity probably that they will have the opportunity to take that jersey from us.”

“For sure, everyone is going to be going all out tomorrow and it’s almost going to be like a time trial from the bottom of the climb. It is so steep, that groups and teamwork almost go out of the window and it’s a time trial from top to bottom.”

Tomorrow, Team Sky have two cards to play on the fearsome slopes of the Anglirú and who’s to say how they will come out at the top. Will their rivals finally get one over them or will Wiggins and Froome stamp their authority on the race ahead of the final week.

It promises to be a fantastic spectacle, one apparently not being shown on television which if that is the case, it is a big missed opportunity by the networks.

Good luck to Chris and Bradley tomorrow – the contenders for the win in the Tour of Spain will certainly be showing their cards on that infamous climb, the Anglirú and the country has everything crossed for you!

LINK: Stage 14 Result

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