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"For me he's actually in a stronger place now than this time last year - even if the results haven't quite reflected that. Last year he didn't have the same endurance at a high intensity which he has at the moment."

Photo: Sirotti






03.05.2015 @ 19:39 Posted by Andy Pedersen

Chris Froome secured a hard-fought third place overall at the Tour de Romandie following the final stage time trial. The Brit clocked the 13th best time on a wet 17.3-kilometre test in Lausanne and that was enough to ensure a podium finish as continues to build towards July's Tour de France.


Froome's heroics on Saturday's queen stage meant he headed into the final test 14 seconds off the lead, but strong times from Katusha duo Ilnur Zakarin and Simon Spilak prevented any further climb up the GC. Zakarin overcame a bike change to still set third fastest time out on course, ultimately taking a 17-second race victory over Spilak, who himself was second on the stage. Froome ended the race 35 seconds back after an invaluable week of racing, which began with a Team Sky victory in the team time trial.


Stage victory on the final day went to Tony Martin (Etixx - Quick-Step), with the powerful German setting a time of 23:11 to take the win by 11 seconds. Nicolas Roche was the next Team Sky rider home in the concluding TT, 1:30 back on Martin. After the race the Team Sky website caught up with Sports Director Nicolas Portal who talked us through the race, the growing form and Chris Froome and the team's performance as a whole. He said:


"It was a strong ride from Chris all week. Obviously he's a little bit disappointed as we came here to try to win the race, but It was a really hard race and there was no rest on any of the stages. He was feeling good yesterday and even today in the time trial. He pushed hard but there were some stronger guys today.


"For me he's actually in a stronger place now than this time last year - even if the results haven't quite reflected that. Last year he didn't have the same endurance at a high intensity which he has at the moment. You could see yesterday when Pinot and Zakarin attacked, and he was pulling for the GC, guys like Quintana and Spilak were all on the limit on his wheel. They couldn't attack. He said he was feeling good so it bodes well. That bit of extra punchyness will come from more training and racing."


Portal also sees big improvements to come from the team, adding:


"I'm quite happy with how the team went here - even if we didn't really show up in the results. We have guys like Luke (Rowe), G (Geraint Thomas) and Ian (Stannard) who came back after a proper break following the classics. So they are still finding their race legs and that is going to really improve soon when we go to Tenerife and do some more longer races.


"The guys did well because we rode three and a half stages on the front. Ian particularly was really strong. Elia (Viviani), the same as Pete (Kennaugh), came back from injury and he also did a good job pulling. Nico (Roche) was really strong here and Danny (Pate) too improved day by day. We know that as a team everyone can improve by 20 or 30 percent and there is a lot still to come."


Froome himself was also optimistic.


"Thanks for the support this week at #TdR2015! Legs are feeling good, form on track... 61 days until #TDF2015," he tweeted after the time trial.



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