• Tour de France

Froome wants Tour de France success

ESPN staff
June 19, 2013
Chris Froome won the Criterium Du Dauphine in June © AP

Team Sky leader Chris Froome believes he is still the underdog going into the 2013 Tour de France, despite being odds-on favourite to finish with the coveted yellow jersey and win his first Grand Tour.

Froome finished second to team-mate Sir Bradley Wiggins twelve months ago, but 2012 Olympic time-trial champion Wiggins will not defend his title after being forced to pull out through illness and injury.

However, 28-year-old Froome, who goes into the Tour following his recent triumph at the Criterium Du Dauphine, is confident he has the ability to achieve a maiden Tour victory - the very thought of which is spurring him on.

"I can see that we'll face some big teams that will have some big riders as leaders," Froome told Cyclingnews. "I think we should also include the Movistar team in the mix because they'll have [Nairo] Quintana and [Alejandro] Valverde.

"I'm perhaps still the underdog in that respect, compared to them. I haven't won a Grand Tour yet. I have led the Vuelta a Espana but I'm still a bit of a novice I suppose.

"But I'm quietly confident. I've been able to settle into the role of being a favourite and a big race contender this year in the build-up to the Tour. Hopefully that will be useful and be enough to help win the Tour de France for the first time. That's my goal. That's what I want to achieve."

The Kenyan-born Brit admits that losing Wiggins to injury is somewhat of a blow, but stated he is more than ready to lead a "strong" team into the June 29 event, which starts in Corsica.

"It's a shame we don't have Bradley's big engine for the team time trial and his support in the mountains, but I think we've got all the bases covered," Froome said."From the media point of view, there's a lot of talk about team leadership, but it's a relief that the team is so strong.

"If I look back at the last five seasons of my career as a professional, it's really daunting how far I've come.

"Each year has been a massive learning experience and now I'm in a position to lead the team that won the Tour de France last year. That's mind boggling in a way.

"But at the same time I feel I'm ready for it and the team's ready for it, too. The final names have still to be announced, but we've got a strong team and that boosts my confidence even further."

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