Chris Froome is off to a good start with Team Sky, on target to support Bradley Wiggins and Dario Cioni at the Giro d’Italia in May.
“I have not talked over the specifics with the team yet,” explained Froome, “but the goal should be to try to be in the escapes and to help Bradley and Dario.”
The Brit, born in Kenya, knows Italy well. He has lived in Italy for the last two years and raced the Giro d’Italia last year with team Barloworld. At the Giro, he made a successful escape in stage 14, finishing sixth behind winner Simon Gerrans on climb up to San Luca’s sanctuary. The same steep, 2100-metre long climb features annually in the Giro dell’Emilia one-day classic.
This year’s Giro d’Italia, May 8 to 30, ends with plenty of steep climbs. Organiser RCS Sport unveiled last October a route that will take the riders up the Zoncolan, Plan de Corones, Mortirolo and Gavia climbs.
“There will be a lot of steep climbs in the race this year and I need to factor that into my training,” continued Froome. “I will start to reconnoitre some of them once the race draws near.”
Froome, 24, had raced two season’s at Claudio Corti’s Barloworld, where, in 2008, he became the first Kenyan to race the Tour de France. He jumped at the chance to join Great Britain’s new team, though, when Barloworld announced it was leaving cycling at the end of last season.
Moving to Sky, Froome not only made a jump from a second to a first division team, but he also gained a wealth of team support.
“It is quite a change,” he said. “Barloworld came from the old school way of thinking. That works for many people, but I prefer the modern and scientific approach. I feel this setup clicks for me.
“I have Rod Ellingworth as a trainer now and he programmes all my training. These things, like bike positioning, all add up.” Froome added, echoing the mantra of Team Principal David Brailsford, “we are looking at all the small gains.”
Froome and Ellingworth speak several times a week.
“Just to catch up on training,” Froome said. “Now that we are racing there is not too much to do training wise, it is just more recovery and keeping the programme ticking. I have a few gaps [between races] coming up when we will watch closely my training programme, building to the Giro d’Italia.”
Froome crashed in the closing 15 kilometres of the GP Insubria Saturday when a rival rider went down in front of him. He returned in the GP Lugano Sunday, though, where he was one of the few finishers.
“I was hanging just off the back” of the second group.
Team Sky publish March race line-ups
Giro d’Italia 2010 coverage in association with Zipvit