AFP / Yuzuru Sunada
British reigning Tour de France champion Chris Froome said Monday he will not take part in next month’s Milan-San Remo classic after plans to change the route fell through.
“I thought I might try my luck because the organisers had decided to make the race more difficult by adding a climb in the final,” Froome told reporters on the eve of the Tour of Oman, where he is also the defending champion. “But ultimately, the traditional, less difficult course will be used. It no longer makes sense to start in Milan.”
Organisers had planned to increase the difficulty of the course by adding a new climb, the Pompieana, between the Cipressa and Poggio ascents but heavy rain and landslides prompted local authorities to rule the passage unsafe. The decision means that Froome, 28, won’t take part in a single one-day race this season prior to the Tour de France. Aside from the Tour of Oman, which starts Tuesday, the Team Sky leader will also ride in the Tirreno-Adriatico, Tour of Catalonia, Tour of Romandie and Dauphine Libere. However, unlike last year, Froome won’t race in the Criterium International, nor the Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic.
“The Doyenne (of classic races) is a course I like a lot and somewhere I’d like to return. But it won’t be this year,” said Froome.
The Kenyan-born cyclist also ruled out competing in the Paris-Roubaix or another cobbled Classic in preparation for the fifth stage of this year’s Tour de France that will see the peloton tackle nine cobblestone sections before arriving in Arenberg on the same roads used in the Paris-Roubaix event.
“From what I can understand, the cobbles are very different in a one-day race than in a Grand Tour. I’d personally prefer not to take the risk in a race on the cobbles. I’d like to go and train on cobbles a lot to prep for that cobbled-stage in the Tour,” he explained. Regarding July’s Tour, Froome singled out Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali and Spain’s two-time winner Alberto Contador as his two “most serious rivals without doubt”.
“Alberto doesn’t let anything go. He’s a fighter. I’m sure he will approach the next Tour perfectly prepared and with a very big feeling of revenge,” said Froome.