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Froome raring to go at 'tough' Vuelta

ESPN staff
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Chris Froome suffered fractures to his wrist and hand at the Tour de France © AP
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Chris Froome believes leading Team Sky at the Vuelta a Espana is just what he needs following the disappointment of crashing out of the Tour de France.

Froome was unable to defend his Tour de France crown after fractures to his wrist and hand in three crashes forced him to withdraw from the event.

But Froome is fit and ready to race in the Vuelta - which begins on Saturday - for the third time in four years.

"This is exactly the sort of challenge that I need after the disappointment of withdrawing from the Tour de France," Froome said, who finished second at the Vuelta in 2011.

"You can't dwell on disappointment. You have to move on quickly to next thing and the Vuelta has become the perfect race for me to focus on.

"I have always really enjoyed racing at the Vuelta. It's a tough race but a great opportunity for the whole team. I know that the level of competition will be incredibly high this year, but we have got a strong line-up so we hope to be as competitive as possible."

After pulling out of the Tour de France, Froome went to the US and has been to his home in France to recover.

"I'm really pleased with how my recovery has gone since the Tour," he said. "I have been training hard and the support team are pleased with my progress.

"I'm a little bit light on racing days this year, so getting a Grand Tour under my belt will not only help me now, but it will also help my preparation for next year. Going for the win will certainly be tough, but we will give it everything we have got."

Froome is one of three Britons named by Team Sky for the Vuelta, with British national road race champion Peter Kennaugh and Luke Rowe part of the nine-man line-up.

Rowe, though, has warned that Froome may not be at his best. "In terms of Chris, we will take it day by day and week by week," he said. "We are heading into the unknown a little bit with him not racing for so long since the Tour de France.

"We are going with GC [general classification] ambitions, and if you go with GC ambitions, with a team like Sky it has got to be to win the race. Whether he [Froome] will be able to achieve that, a podium, top ten, or maybe not even that, we will be able to tell after a week or so.

"If Froome was in top condition, that would be great, but at the same time he has had a lot of time off and a crash like that can't go underrated. We need to be ambitious, but at the same time realistic."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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