Briton Chris Froome made clear on Wednesday that he has no intention of ever again playing second fiddle to compatriot and Sky team mate Bradley Wiggins on theTour de France.
The 28-year-old, winner of the Criterium du Dauphine on Sunday, told the Times newspaper that he wanted to be in a position to win the Tour for years to come.
“I’ve got my goals and personally where I want my career to go is to target the Tour, not just this year but for the next six or seven years, and each time to line up at the Tour ready to try and contend for the yellow jersey,” he said.
“I am driven by that goal, not from a fame point of view,” added the rider, who finished last year’s Tour as runner-up to Wiggins.
This year’s race starts on June 29 with Froome the official Sky team leader and one of the favourites in the absence of four-timesOlympic champion Wiggins, who has been ruled out by injury and illness.
Froome has been on top form this year, also winning the Tour of Oman, the Criterium International and Tour of Romandie before Sunday’s success in France’s third biggest stage race.
“I have been a lot more consistent with my numbers this year and I have been able to hit the numbers that last year I thought were exceptional,” he told the newspaper.
“And I feel I can still get better. Last year I felt ‘I am really flying now’. This year I am hitting that comfortably now.”
The rider said Wiggins’s absence had not left Sky notably weakened.
“We do have a very strong team and regardless of Bradley there or not, I do feel we have all our bases covered,” said Froome. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ed Osmond)