Team Sky‘s management at the Ruta del Sol say they are confident Chris Froome will be able to handle the high-pressure situation surrounding his first race of the 2018 season and fight for the win in the five-day event.
The Ruta del Sol is Froome’s first race since news broke in December of his adverse analytical finding for salbutamol during the 2017 Vuelta a España. Sky’s sports director Brett Lancaster recognised that the situation was an unusual one, but was succinct when asked by Cyclingnews if he thought that Froome would be able to handle it: “He’s Chris, you know, and Chris will do that.”
Having observed team leaders of all kinds and how they handle their duties during his career, Lancaster is confident that Froome will be able to perform on the road during the Ruta del Sol, despite the attention surrounding his presence in the race.
“He’s good at doing that. As you know, in the Tour he’s copped a little crap there from the public or whatever, but Chris just gets on with the job. He’s unbelievable at doing that,” Lancaster said.
“It’s a whole ‘nother thing, that mental side of things. But Chris will just crack on with it, as much as he can, and we’ll go into this race and we’ll treat it like any other race.”
Froome returned an adverse analytical finding for salbutamol in the final week of last year’s Vuelta, but as salbutamol is a specified substance, he remains free to race until the case has been resolved. Last month, Froome denied reports in the Italian press that he was considering a plea bargain in return for a reduced ban, and last week confirmed that he would start his 2018 season at the Ruta del Sol.
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