Chris Froome Interview
Chris Froome starts the 2012 Vuelta a Espana as Team Sky's sole captain.
top 10 in the Giro and they both have huge potential. I have no doubt at all that they'll be ready to go in the Vuelta. Richie Porte is another. He came through the Tour with me and has an amazing base to go through the Vuelta. He's super strong on the TT's and the climbs and could be right up there as well. Potentially we have a really strong team. A lot of people see the Vuelta as being inferior to the Tour but the team we are sending there is definitely not a second-rate team.
"With so many uphill finishes it's bound to be a really challenging race and there's going to be no hiding if the form isn't there. It should be a really exciting race."
For fans the Vuelta sets up the mouth-watering prospect of a battle in the mountains between some of best climbers in the sport. Froome proved his strength at the Tour, but will face off against a new set of rivals in Spain.
Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) was second at the Giro d'Italia, defending champion Cobo (Movistar) returns, as does Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) following his ban.
On the returning Contador, Froome revealed: "Alberto has a lot to prove after coming back from his ban and I have no doubt that being on home turf in Spain, he'll be up for the job. I'm not too sure quite where he is with his condition but he'll no doubt be right up there at the sharp end of the racing and I think he'll be going in as the favourite to win the Vuelta.
"I haven't really taken on much pressure to be honest. I'm going there as the leader for Team Sky but that doesn't change anything - I'm still preparing for it the same way I would any other race. I'm going to do the best job I can and do whatever's required of me from the team. If that's to try and win stages or the GC, then I'll try to do that, but if any of the other guys come to the fore and show that they're in a better place to win it then I'll happily work for them.
"The schedule does make it harder because I've not had the time to tailor my training specifically for the Vuelta. I've also had to train for the Olympic road race and time trial, so I'm not going into it the same way as I did the Tour but I'm confident, still very motivated, and eager to lead the team for the first time. It's a fantastic position for me to be in and I want to make the most of it."
And on returning to Spain Froome added: "I have so many happy memories from last year's race. The big things that stand out are the surprise I felt by going into the red jersey after the time trial - that was quite a surreal experience for me to be leading a Grand Tour. That's when I got the green light