(AFP) – Chris Froome will kick off his 2019 campaign by riding in the Tour Colombia for the first time in February, the Briton announced.
The 33-year-old won a third straight Grand Tour title earlier this year at the Giro d’Italia, but lost his Tour de France crown to Sky teammate Geraint Thomas.
Froome started his 2018 season at the Ruta del Sol in Spain, but has recently been training in Colombia and in the new year will instead look to emulate Egan Bernal, who won the inaugural race in his home country nine months ago.
The second edition will take place from February 12-17 in Antioquia, where Froome’s rivals could include world champion Alejandro Valverde.
Froome takes part these days in a Gran Fondo race organised by former Team Sky colleague Rigoberto Uran. His trip to Colombia clearly made an impression on the 33-year-old.
“I was fascinated with all the beautiful geography I discovered here,” he said. “For many years I’ve wanted to come here, to learn how riders who had a hard route into the big European races train, what they eat, and why they are so good.”
“They’ve made me feel so good here that I’ll tell my team directors to look at how to change my race programme.