Chris Froome says Tour de France is 'main focus' for 2015

Chris Froome
Chris Froome won the 2013 Tour de France but crashed out of this year's race

Britain's Chris Froome intends to compete in next year's Tour de France after hinting he might miss it in favour of riding in the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana instead.

The 2013 champion, 29, described next year's Tour as a "tough test" when the route was announced in October.

But the Team Sky captain, who is training in South Africa, will now make the race his "main focus" for the year.

"At this point in my career, I feel the Tour takes priority," he said.

With a tricky first week and a shortage of individual time-trial kilometres, defending champion Vincenzo Nibali and Spain's Alberto Contador will start as favourites for the 2015 Tour de France.

Why is the 2015 Tour de France so demanding?
High winds, cobbles and a penultimate stage on l'Alpe d'Huez will feature in 102nd edition of the Tour, which starts in the Dutch city of Utrecht. There are five mountain-top finishes but only 14km of individual time trial.
The race hits cobbles on stage four - at 221km the longest - before heading out through Normandy to Brittany. From there, it switches to the Pyrenees, with tough finishes at La Pierre St Martin and on the Plateau de Beille.
The final week in the Alps has four consecutive gruelling mountain stages before switching to Paris for the Champs-Elysees procession.

"It's a climbers' Tour next year so I'm going to have to work extra hard in the mountains and spend less time on practising time-trialling," Froome, who crashed out of this year's race, told the Team Sky website. external-link

"I enjoy the challenge and there's no reason why I would be any worse off than any of the other contenders.

"It is our responsibility as a team to adapt accordingly so that we can be as competitive as possible there."

Kenyan-born Froome has been challenged by rival team owner Oleg Tinkov to compete in all three of 2015's Grand Tours for a prize fund of one million euros (£789,329).

BBC Sport's Matt Slater analysis
The strangest thing about this statement is that it had to be made in the first place. It is a "climber's Tour" but Froome was the best climber in 2012 and 2013. He might have been this year, too, had he stayed on his bike. Why he reacted so hastily to the Tour's route when it was first announced is the real mystery, but the good news is he has calmed down and focused on the job in hand: becoming the multiple Tour champion many predicted.

But the Briton said: "The concept of doing all three Grand Tours in a season has got appeal, but I know how hard it is to do two Grand Tours while targeting the overall win.

"There may come a time at some point down the line where other races may take preference, but, for 2015, it's the Tour."

2015 Tour de France route
The 2015 Tour de France route, which will be raced over from 4 to 26 July

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