Tour de France: Team Sky's Chris Froome predicts chaotic opening stages in Corsica
Chris Froome is predicting a frenetic start to the Tour de France in Corsica.
By Matt Westby
Last Updated: 28/06/13 12:01pm
The 100th edition of the Tour will begin with three road stages on the Mediterranean island, with one flat and two hilly days providing an unusually testing start to the race.
The first week of the Tour normally offers a breaking-in period for the riders, but Froome anticipates Corsica's winding roads and categorised climbs will kick the battle for overall victory off early this year and could be littered with incident.
"Corsica is going to be a tough one," he told Sky Sports. "Typically at the Tour de France, those first few days are really stressful in the peloton anyway. Everyone feels as if they can get into that yellow jersey position and the race is very open at that point.
"You feel very nervous. Everyone is fighting for position and trying to stay at the front, and especially on windy Corsican roads, it is going to be a battle.
"Days two and three are by no means flat. The race is not going to be won in Corsica, but it could be lost in Corsica, so it is somewhere we have to stay out of trouble and minimise losses, if there are any."
The perils awaiting the riders in Corsica are not the only parts of the 2013 route concerning Froome.
He has established himself as the leading climber in the world this season, but in order to add the yellow jersey to his blossoming palmares, he will first have to negotiate 11 mountainous stages, including four summit finishes and double ascent of Alpe d'Huez on stage 18.
The 28-year-old Kenyan-born rider has confidence in his condition and ability, but is well aware that one bad day could have disastrous consequences.
"It really is a hard course this year," he added. "Those summit finishes are brutal. If you have a bad day in those mountains, you can lose minutes in a single climb.
"Climbing Alpe d'Huez twice is gruelling. We went up there once in the [Criterium du] Dauphine earlier on in a stage and that was pretty hard as it was, so I can only imagine doing two loops up there at the end of a stage. That is going to rip the race to pieces.
"After the Dauphine we stayed on in the area to have a look at a couple of the key Alpine stages, the second time trial and the penultimate stage, which finishes down into Annecy. They will all be crucial parts of this year's Tour."
'Nervous but confident'
Froome goes into the race as heavy favourite, after winning the Tour of Oman, Criterium International, Tour de Romandie and Dauphine in the build-up this year.
It is a tag he is still coming to terms with carrying given that he was barely known by mainstream British society two years ago, but he insists it has not hampered his preparations for the Tour.
"I feel a lot more confident in my own abilities and just being in this position, having the privilege of leading the team in a race like the Tour de France, gives me a lot of confidence.
"Nervous but confident I think is a good way to describe it. I feel like I am in really good shape and the rest of the team is in really good shape, so things are looking good at this point."
The Tour starts on Saturday.