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Porte, Bardet and Contador are main Tour de France rivals, not Quintana, according to Froome

Chris Froome and Nairo Quintana on Stage 10 of the 2016 Tour de France
Joseph Delves
1 Jun 2017

Froome picks out his key rivals for the Tour de France

In an interview ahead of the Tour de France, Chris Froome (Team Sky) has dismissed Movistar rival Nairo Quintana’s chances of winning the race.

‘My biggest threats come from guys who did not do the Giro; Richie Porte, Alberto Contador and Romain Bardet. I think it is going to be tough for Nairo to do the Giro and the Tour,’ he told Reuters.

In riding the earlier Giro d'Italia, at which he finished second despite a late spell in pink, the Colombian rider has damaged his chances at the Tour de France, Froome believes.

Team Sky also had a disappointing time at the Giro but Froome thinks he may actually benefit from the squad’s bad luck.

With their Giro leader Geraint Thomas having crashed out early in Italy, he’ll hit the Tour fully revived and ready for his role as super-domestique.

‘On the one hand, it was a huge setback for Geraint that he was not able to finish the Giro... but for the Tour, it will be only a good thing for the team because he will be fresher and have more time to prepare,’ Froome added.

Having kept a low profile during the early season, Froome will now head into next week’s eight stage Critérium du Dauphiné race alongside the three riders he identified as his main rivals at the Tour de France: Richie Porte (BMC Racing), Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) and Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo).

A former teammate at Sky, Froome is well aware of Porte’s potential. In recent years he’s shown repeated promise at the Tour, only to suffer from General Classification-battering off-days.

The young Bardet has won stages and last year finished runner-up to Froome, thanks to aggressive and fan-pleasing racing.

Contador is also a super experienced campaigner, who is always capable of causing an upset despite first winning the race back in 2007.

On the prospect of achieving his own Grand Tour double, Froome stated his intention to race the Vuelta a Espana in Spain at the end of the season; something he’s done on several previous occasions.

‘I think it has been a build up similar to what I had last year. I think it worked well and I was able to do the Tour and the Vuelta.

'After the Tour, if everything goes well, I'd love to do the Vuelta.’