"The 2015 Tour will include only 14 kilometres of individual time trialling, on day one in the Dutch city of Utrecht. This is the smallest amount since the race was relaunched after the second world war and the first time in recent years that the race has not included a time trial in the final week.This is the kind of hyper-rational analysis which you expect from Froome's cerebral persona. I imagine Bradley Wiggins is aghast: as the 2013 winner, how could you not want to participate in the greatest bike race in the world? Where is Froome's sense of the grand tradition, the honour of cycling?
"In a statement issued shortly after the launch of the 2015 race route on Wednesday morning, Team Sky’s Kenyan-born Briton, who crashed out of the 2014 event in the first week, said, “The team and I will have to give it some careful consideration before we make any commitments to which of the grand tours I will compete in.” The 2013 winner was not present at the launch in Paris.
"Froome added: “The Giro with its inclusion of a long TT of 60 km and tough uphill finishes will make it a well-balanced race, which suits me well. If I did the Giro I may also be able to get myself back to top shape for the Vuelta and go there with a realistic chance of aiming for the win. In the past I’ve only targeted one grand tour each season but it could be a good opportunity for me to focus seriously on two.”
"The lack of time trialling in the 2015 Tour should suit the French riders, who staged a dramatic resurgence in the 2014 race, and as if to express their hope that history is on the home nation’s side, the organisers have included a finish at Pra Loup, the resort in the southern Alps where Bernard Thévenet toppled Eddy Merckx in 1975."
I wonder whether Team Sky just took a look at the route and figured they couldn't win? Certainly without Froome (and with Wiggins essentially retired from road racing) they have no credible candidate for a win. Perhaps the notoriously neophilic Team is itself bored with the Tour, and is restlessly seeking new challenges.
Not many posts at the moment as I'm tied up with various domestic matters. In-between I'm just finishing Peter Watts' Rifters trilogy and very dark, smart and techno-soapy it is, with a soupçon of grotesque horror. Greg Bear's War Dogs and Michel Faber's The Book of Strange New Things have arrived and joined the queue. I'm looking forwards etc.