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Froome 'sad' nobody challenged Nibali

ESPN staff
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Chris Froome was forced to abandon his Tour de France defence on Stage Five © AP
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Last year's Tour de France winner Chris Froome has expressed his disappointment at the lack of a challenge towards his successor Vincenzo Nibali in this year's event while revealing he is targeting a return in next month's Vuelta a Espana.

Nibali closed out victory in Sunday's processional stage down the Champs-Elysees in Paris after a dominant second half of this year's Tour, particularly after dominating the mountain stages of the event.

It is Nibali's first victory in the Tour de France and while Froome was quick to congratulate the Italian on his success, the Team Sky rider believes he and Alberto Contador would have made things much tougher had they not both fallen foul of injury in the opening days of the race.

"I think Nibali definitely does deserve the win this year, he did make it through all those stages that had all the crashes and all those difficult parts," said Froome on NBC Sports. "But I do believe it would have been a different race if Alberto and I had been competing in the mountains.

"It's been difficult for me watching the race - Nibali in the mountains has been relatively unchallenged, he hasn't had people attacking him and it hasn't been a mano-a-mano fight for the yellow jersey.

"That's sad for a race like the Tour de France. I would have loved to have been there up in the mountains with him. But he survived, he stayed upright, and he deserves to win."

Froome withdrew from the Tour on Stage Five as a wrist injury prevented him from even being able to control his bike. After three crashes in wet conditions, he abandoned his defence.

He added that he was targeting a return in the Vuelta a Espana, which begins on August 23, and will begin training in the Napa Valley in California in the coming days. Contador has already withdrawn from the Vuelta due to his injury sustained on Stage 10 of the Tour de France.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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