Chris Froome has revealed Sir Bradley Wiggins' withdrawal from the Tour de France is a 'relief' after the media scrutiny that was surrounding the pair.

Froome had been chosen to lead Team Sky's challenge despite Wiggins stating that he wanted to defend the title he had won last year. But Wiggins later pulled out of the Tour due to injury and illness that hampered his training.

Froome admitted that, despite less media focus, the team will miss Wiggins' support.

"From within the team it's a loss for us that we don't have his engine in the team time trial, and doing that support role for me in the mountains," Froome told BBC Sport. "From that side, it's definitely a loss.

"But from the media angle, always playing on the leadership question, that's certainly a relief."

The Kenyan-born rider is going into this year's Tour de France in fine form after winning this month's Criterium du Dauphine.

Froome has revealed he intends to challenge for the Tour de France for years to come and hopes to become more well known to the British public. He also considers it important not to forget his African roots.

"I'm 28 and for the next six or seven years my goal is to try to fight for the yellow jersey," he said. "If I can win it once I would be chuffed to bits.

"Certainly in Grand Tours I've been in before, I've been in support of Brad - and at Team Sky we always go in with a goal and stick to it. This is an opportunity for me to shine in that respect and definitely to get more known by the British public."

He added: "I certainly feel I'm carrying the flag for Britain. I feel an honour in that but, at the same time, knowing my roots are in Africa, I'd like that to help motivate people from there.

"Even coming from a third world country, it is possible to get to the top of wherever they want to be."

The 2007 and 2009 Tour de France winner Alberto Contador is considered as one of Froome's contenders for the yellow jersey. However, the Spanish Saxo-Tinkoff rider failed to get close to the Brit at the Criterium du Dauphine and Froome is confident he doesn't have to worry about Contador.

"I've got his measure [but] I am expecting him to be at a different level again at the Tour," said Froome.

"I think everyone lifts themselves that little bit extra for the Tour de France, being the pinnacle of our cycling calendar.

"He knows what he is doing. He's won the Tour, he's won Grand Tours multiple times, but I don't think he is someone we need to be worried about in that respect. We've shown we can race against him, and we can certainly beat him."

 

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Topics:
#Sir Bradley Wiggins
#Tour De France
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