Chris Froome refused to set limits on his Tour de France ambitions on Monday as he reflected on a surreal victory and the moment he ran up Mont Ventoux and left his team-mates laughing all the way to Paris.
The 31-year-old Team Sky rider won his third Tour title in four years — 2014 the only blot on the record when he crashed out — on Sunday.
Only four riders in 103 editions have more yellow jerseys, but Froome will be taking nothing for granted when the 2017 race route in announced in October.
“We need to chill our boots a little bit. Three is incredible,” the Briton said.
“It gets a bit dangerous when you start putting a number: Five, or six, or seven.
“I’ll definitely take it one at a time and if I can win the Tour again that would be unreal.
“I am looking forward to finding out what next year’s edition will hold for us, what challenges we’re going to have to train for and be ready for. I’d love to come back next year and fight for it again.”
Froome moved to within two overall wins of Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain, who each won five Tours, while the disgraced Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven for doping.
The defining image of the 2016 race will be of Froome striding out on Mont Ventoux on July 14.
The Bastille Day stage to the ‘Giant of Provence’ was designed to be the highlight of this Tour, but gale-force winds at the summit compelled organisers to move the finish line midway down the mountain to Chalet Reynard at short notice.
With little time to move the barriers and hundreds of thousands of fans compacted onto a shorter stretch of road, it was pandemonium on the mountain as the riders approached.
Froome was trying to attack along with Richie Porte and Bauke Mollema when Porte struck a motorbike which had been forced to stop by the crowds and the others piled into him.
Another motorbike smashed into Froome from behind, breaking his bike and temporarily seeing him striding up the mountain in his cleats.
He also rode an under-sized neutral service bike before finally receiving his spare from the team car.
The chaos might have cost him his third Tour title, until the race jury intervened.
Froome will now concentrate on his rides in the Olympic Games road race and time-trial, on August 6 and August 10, respectively, and has realistic chances of gold in both events in Rio.
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