Chris Froome bids to end 22-year wait in 'vicious' Vuelta a Espana

 Henry Young

Just days have passed since he sealed the fourth Tour de France victory, but Chris Froome has no intention of putting his feet up.

Instead, the Briton's pursuit of cycling history continues, with the Team Sky rider announcing his participation in August's Vuelta an Espana.

No holder of the yellow jersey has gone on to win the "vicious" Spanish race since 1995, but the 32-year-old Froome was bullish about his chances.

"I've got the opportunity and I'm certainly going to go for it," said Froome, looking ahead to the first stage in the French city of Nîmes, where the Vuelta starts on August 19.

"To win the Tour and the Vuelta in one year would be absolutely incredible."

Froome has fallen agonizingly short three times on the Spanish roads, placing second in the general classification in 2011, 2014 and 2016.

"The Vuelta is a race I love -- it's vicious but it's three weeks that I enjoy. I've come second three times now and I'd love to win.

Should he go one better, the 32-year-old would become the first ever British winner.

"There's no reason why not," said Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford, calling his star rider "a big champion"

"We've got four weeks to the start of the Vuelta. We've got a couple of races in between but we'll dust ourselves down a little bit and go and do it all over again."

A victim of his own success?

Froome is just one Tour de France win away from the all-time record -- held by cycling luminaries Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain.

However, Froome's recent domination of the Tour hasn't been universally welcomed, with some downgrading his achievements as more a product of cold efficiency, teamwork, and mastery of data, rather than his own individual brilliance.

Are such accusations fair?

From crashes and punctures to unsympathetic bystanders, Froome has overcome every barrier that has been put in his way -- famously running up Mont Ventoux in his cycling shoes on his way to the yellow jersey last year.

Sometimes overlooked for a perceived lack of panache, he graciously helped a fan propose to his fiancee in the "City of Love," just moments after celebrating his fourth tour win in Paris this week.

The charismatic Bradley Wiggins was always going to be a tough act to follow -- particularly given he ended Britain's 110-year wait for a first Tour de France winner.

Conquer the Vuelta, which finishes on 10 September in Madrid, and perhaps Froome will prove his credentials once and for all.

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Domain: Afterhours
Category: Sports
21 November, 2017
Henry Young
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Henry Young
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