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Chris Froome to start season at Tour Colombia after training at altitude

Froome to be joined by Bernal and Sosa for second edition of Tour Colombia

Joe Robinson
12 Feb 2019

Chris Froome will begin his 2019 season at the Tour Colombia later today as he begins preparations for a record-equalling fifth Tour de France title in July.

The six-time Grand Tour winner will co-lead Team Sky at the South American stage race with Egan Bernal, who enters the race as defending champion.

The race will also offer a team debut for young South Americans Jhonatan Narvaez and Ivan Sosa, while Jonathan Castroviejo and Sebastian Henao complete the team.

The Tour Colombia takes place from 12th to 17th February and begins with a 14km team time trial around Medellin.

The race, which is only in its second edition, offers a stern early season test with four mountain stages and multiple days at altitude. This is much different to Froome's usual season race openers at the Ruta del Sol in Spain and Herald Sun Tour in Australia. 

It will also offer Froome an early opportunity to match up against the likes of Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Rigoberto Uran (Education First) and Bob Jungels (Deceuninck-QuickStep) who are all scheduled to race the Tour de France this summer. 

Froome arrived in Colombia on 28th January to train in the Antioquia region with those riding Tour Colombia as well as Tao Geoghegan Hart and Gianni Moscon.  

The defending Giro d'Italia champion has used Colombia's high altitude as a training ground for the past fortnight with his teammates before concluding with his debut participation in the Colombian stage race.

At a pre-race press conference at the team presentations, Froome spoke of the benefits of starting his season in the South American country.

'There are two benefits to being here in Colombia this time of year,' Froome explained. 'Obviously, I've heard a lot about Colombia from my teammates over the years, and I've never spent time here. So, I think it was about time I came here for a training camp.

'I've been here the past two weeks, and I think it's a fantastic place to train in terms of the altitude, the roads, great food and obviously friendly people. It's just been a pleasure to be here, and I'll have to come back in the future.'

Following Tour Colombia, Froome will travel to the Middle East to race the UAE Tour before then heading to the Volta a Catalunya in March.

It is then expected he that will race the Tour de Yorkshire before beginning his tapering at the Criterium du Dauphine for the Tour in July.

Joining Froome in France this July will be teammate and defending champion Geraint Thomas, who last week confirmed his participation at the Tour.

It was speculated the Welshman may focus on the Giro d'Italia in May, riding the Tour purely as a domestique, but the 32-year-old quashed this idea stating he would not want to 'jeopardise' his chances of defending his yellow jersey.