• Tour de France

Cobbled stage could cost rider a Tour win - Froome

ESPN staff
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Chris Froome won the 2013 Tour de France © AP
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Tour de France champion Chris Froome has expressed concern over ideas to introduce a cobble section in the 2014 race.

Race organisers are contemplating adding a cobblestone section - starting in the Belgium town of Ypres - to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War.

The race route will not be unveiled until Wednesday, although Froome has already revealed he is worried about the "unknown factor" a cobbled section would provide, believing a mechanical fault suffered on an uneven surface could result in a rider losing the race.

"Cobbles have been mentioned and that does ring alarm bells for me," Froome told Cycling News. "The little climbers will hate the cobbles.

"The thing that worries me isn't necessarily the riding over the cobbles bit - I've done Paris-Roubaix before, I know what that's like, it's tough. I admit I probably wouldn't be at the very front of a cobbled stage with guys like [Fabian] Cancellara and [Thor] Hushovd.

"What worries me about cobbles are the crashes, the mechanical problems. A mechanical problem in the wrong moment of the race when things are kicking off could lead to you losing the Tour. I'm not a big fan of that. Someone shouldn't lose the Tour due to a mechanical fault.

"It happens, but we're not in the Eugène Christophe [the first wearer of the race leader's yellow jersey] era any more. It's the unknown factor that worries me about cobbles, not necessarily being dropped."

Brit Froome also maintained he is aiming to win as many Tours as possible, starting with the defence of his title next year.

"I can't put a number on how many Tours I could win," Froome said. "Saying I could win five, six, seven is pointless; I can only take one Tour at a time, but as long as I'm hungry for it, I'm going to go for it".

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