Champion Froome can go on for years

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Tour de France 2016: Chris Froome on historic third win

Chris Froome can continue competing at the highest level for “three or four more years”, Team Sky boss Sir Dave Brailsford believes.

Team Sky’s Froome, 31, became Britain’s first three-time Tour de France winner on Sunday when he added the 2016 race to his successes in 2013 and 2015.

“He’s as hungry as ever,” Brailsford told BBC Radio 5 live.

“Much of how far he can go will be about how much he can retain his desire,” Brailsford added.

Before heading out to Rio to prepare for the Olympic Games, Froome will take part in Sunday’s RideLondon-Surrey Classic.

He will lead a Team Sky squad which includes Geraint Thomas, Ian Stannard, Ben Swift, Christian Knees and Dutch sprinter Danny van Poppel.

Froome’s three victories in four years follows Sir Bradley Wiggins becoming the first Briton to win the race in 2012.

Brailsford said Froome manages to both focus on his own individual performance as well as be a “brilliant leader” for the team.

“He’s very meticulous, he sends them a little text every night, he communicates well with them,” said Brailsford.

“Equally they can see that he is on it and so they believe in him. And when they believe in someone the commitment levels and the enjoyment levels go up a notch.”

In the past Froome has received a tough reception from the French crowds, but the three-time champion believes the 2016 Tour has seen a “huge shift” in attitudes.

He added: “You see people on the roads with supporter jerseys from other teams, from the French teams, and they really give it some: ‘Come on, allez Sky, allez Froome!’

“It’s heart-warming to feel that and feel there’s this respect now from the French public.”

Often criticised for an understated personality, the rider hopes that this race allowed spectators and viewers to see more of his character.

“I think people have found it hard to relate to me in the past,” Froome said.

“That’s just the way I am, I’m not necessarily a hugely outgoing kind of guy.

“I think as this race has gone on people have got to me know me a little bit better, know my character a little bit better.”

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Lots of yellow for the Froome family in Paris on Sunday evening

The 31-year-old beat Romain Bardet of France by four minutes and five seconds, with Colombia’s Nairo Quintana in third and Britain’s Adam Yates – who also took the white jersey for best young rider – in fourth.

“It would be my dream to keep coming back for the next five or six years and give myself the best opportunity of winning again,” said Froome, who became the first person to successfully defend the title for 20 years.

Froome’s victory was not without incident, with accidents occurring on both stage 12, when he ran up Mont Ventoux after his bike was broken, and stage 19.

Speaking about the second crash, which occurred two days before the end of the race, he told Radio 4’s Today programme: “It was pretty scary – the initial feeling is just to get straight back up again and in the next two or three minutes you go through the checks thinking, right, is everything still working?

“Everything was fine, you lost a bit of skin, but you’ve just got to keep going.”

Froome, who was competing in his first Tour de France since becoming a father, dedicated the victory to his son, Kellan.

He said: “I’d love my son to look back in 10 years’ time and for him to be proud of his old man.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/36881374

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