October 28, 2016 / 4:36 PM / 2 years ago

Froome says 2017 Tour route may lack big GC battles

LONDON (Reuters) - Three-times champion Chris Froome fears next year’s Tour de France could lack excitement with few chances for the GC contenders to battle it out over the three-week race.

Rider Chris Froome of Britain attends the presentation of the itinerary of the 2017 Tour de France cycling race during a news conference in Paris, France, October 18, 2016. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

The route, announced earlier this month, features many climbs in the early days but few summit finishes and only two short individual time trials as organizers attempt to make it harder for big teams to control the race.

“Now I’ve had a bit of time to digest the Tour de France route a bit more, obviously its very light on time trials, which means the racing will be in the mountains,” Froome who has won the last two editions, was quoted as saying in Cycling Weekly.

“That said, with only three mountain top finishes that leaves very few opportunities for the GC (general classification) guys to race it out.

“I’m not sure how it’s all going to pan out, I hope it’ll be an exciting edition but the route makes it look like there will be few big GC battles.”

Froome said efforts to undermine the control his Team Sky outfit usually exerts over the race, including some shorter stages, might also backfire.

“The shorter stages your team mates will go further if you break it down more guys to do a shorter distance,” he said.

“In my opinion it’s going to be a more controlled Tour route.”

Next year’s Giro d’Italia route looks tailor-made for Froome’s capabilities, although he is unlikely to attempt the race so soon before the Tour.

“Given the balance of time trials and big mountain stages, it’s going to be an exciting race, for sure,” Froome said.

“I think it’s unlikely given my focus is still going to be the Tour,” he said, however, about whether he would go.

Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Rex Gowar

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