Chris Froome Interview
Chris Froome starts the 2012 Vuelta a Espana as Team Sky's sole captain.
Last year's Vuelta a Espana saw Team Sky Procycling's Chris Froome produce a stunning breakthrough performance to take second place, finishing the race in Madrid a tantalising 13 seconds away from Vuelta winner Juan Jose Cobo. Along the way he also took a memorable stage victory on Peña Cabarga, one of the most exciting stage finishes in many years.
Joined by teammate Bradley Wiggins on the podium, Froome backed up that performance this July by equalling that second place on the grandest stage of them all - the Tour de France.
Less than a month since Froome stood on the podium on the Champs-Elysees he is preparing himself for yet another three-week Grand Tour.
The Kenyan-born Brit hasn't rested on his laurels since Paris, flying straight to Britain to slot into a five-man GB squad which shouldered the workload in a punishing Olympic Road Race, before going on to win bronze in the time trial.
The 2012 Vuelta a Espana, which starts on August 18, sees Froome come full circle after a magnificent year of results, made even more impressive after the 27-year-old battled back from an early-season illness.
"I've got another hard month of riding and then I can rest up after that," said Froome when we caught up with him during preparations for the Spanish Grand Tour.
"It's been a pretty chaotic summer so far (laughs). First there was all the hype surrounding the build-up to the Tour, then the Tour came along itself and each week brought with it its own challenges. My focus was on getting through the Tour, and then to the end of it. What we did there was a huge achievement for the team, and then to carry straight on to the Olympics after that made it an epic summer.
"It wasn't easy to retain my focus after the Tour because when you get to the end of something like that, it's the end of one block - one period. Obviously for us though, we had to extend our focus until after the Olympic time trial. I took a few days off after that and I've just started training again this week to get myself ready for the Vuelta."
With a mountainous route and an incredibly strong squad behind him, Froome admits that the Vuelta has always been a target and is ready to take on the tough prospect of back-to-back Grand Tours.
"It's been my plan to ride the Vuelta since the beginning of the year and definitely a race I wanted to revisit after my achievements there last year," he continued. "A lot of people might have thought that with the Tour we had that would change, but I've always remained committed to the plan and I really want to ride two Grand Tours back to back. I've never done that before so I'd like to see how I cope with that.
"I'll be going there as our leader but that's not to say we don't have other guys who can be right up there on the GC. Rigoberto and Sergio were both