Article translated from Spanish.
How has your preparation been in these last months, what have you done?
Basically it has been a fairly meticulous preparation. I took a few days
off after the Basque Country, I took vacations to disconnect and then,
little by little, I was increased training. The main block I have done was
in Tenerife, in Teide. I have been there for about 3 weeks and have
returned a few days ago to continue here with the preparation. Maybe I
have not done much work of intensity thinking of going a little more
backward in the state of form than on other occasions.
What has changed over other years?
The main difference would be intensity work. I have not introduced behind
motorbike, I have not done series of maximum effort thinking a little more
in July. That would be the main difference.
What is your objective in this race?
Mainly get out from here with a good point of form. I will use it as
preparation, I will make a series of maximum efforts, but I will take it
with tranquility, I will see day by day how the forces are, how is the
level of the race and, depending on it, I will go making decisions.
Froome has won three times Dauphiné before winning the Tour de France. Is
it necessary to win the Dauphiné this year to win the Tour?
No I dont think so. I’m more in favor of doing a good race, go slowly
taking the form to be at the start line thinking only and exclusively to
get the victory. Maybe there are people for who psychologically, to have
greater confidence, is good, but in my case, no. Obviously, everyone likes
to win, but Dauphiné is Dauphiné and the Tour is the Tour. I have always
liked to prepare Dauphiné and Tour in a totally different way.
You have come here with many seconds places, but without any victory, does
that change anything?
No. Obviously, if this happened in my early years as a professional, it
would change something, but not now. And bearing in mind also that we now
have power data to be able to analyze the performance you have had in each
race, it is different. This year seems a lie and complicated, but they
have been practically all second places in the rankings, by one factor or
another, but I’ve ended up very happy about how I’ve found myself
physically and how I’ve recovered from the efforts. Although I do not have
victories like other years, I’ve come with even with more confidence.
Throughout your career you have won practically all races, except perhaps
the Dauphiné. Does that motivate you especially to seek victory?
No, the Dauphiné is a very nice race and I’ve been very close to winning,
but I’ve never come here thinking about winning. It is a race of great
importance, but it is just before the Tour de France, so I have always
used it as a preparation. I remember climbing the Mont Ventoux in the
Dauphiné and practically pouring my heart out of the mouth for the effort
I needed to follow some rideres, and instead, arriving on the Tour was
like the Ventoux was almost an easy mountain. I have always preferred to
use it as a preparation and I have no special motivation to win it. In
2014 I was very close, but the last day was a chaotic stage.
Is it mentally different to arrive at the Tour with this team than last year?
I am really excited about the team we are going to have on the Tour. We
have a team in which all the teammates have to arrive in optimal
conditions to be able to have a team of highest level, but perhaps there
are teams like Sky or even Movistar that may have slightly more powerful
teams, but I think this year I will have a very good team and one of the
most important things is to go all with a clear goal.
Have you seen Froome in Tenerife and Quintana in the Giro, what do you
think of your top rivals for the Tour?
Yes, in Tenerife there was also Chris and I’m sure he was preparing very
well and conscientiously. In Romandia he was not as strong as other years
and I’m sure he’ll want to be very strong here and win in confidence. And
as for Nairo, it has been a Giro very even race, there has been a lot of
mountain, but there has been a group of riders fairly even. In the end has
imposed the rider that from my point of view has been stronger and more
solid. Perhaps he is less climber, but doubtless Doumoulin was the
strongest one in this Giro.
You’ve been competing against Sky for 6 years, what do you think of its
running style, would you have liked to run with them?
Obviously you like to run with the most powerful team possible, that is
obvious, because apart of the great difficulty, it is easier to get the
victory. In the end, everyone has their way of running according to their
circumstances and their budget. It is a team that has a good system of
work and many high level riders to be able to make a very powerful team
for the Tour.
After the Giro d’Italia, is Quintana still a really strong opponent?
Yes, Quintana simply because of the results of others years and because of
the performance in the Vuelta a España after riding the Tour, is certainly
a candidate for the GC, regardless of the fact that maybe in the Giro he
was not as strong as other years.
What is your state of mind regarding the end of your career, are you like
an artist who wants to put a special end point?
Basically now what I do is enjoy working. I go race by race, but it is
true that now in my head it is to continue in cycling. As time goes by, I
may decide to finish one way or another, but now I’m enjoying a lot in
each race and I plan to continue this way.