Tour de France 2013: ‘I’d give anything to see my mother with me here today’ says Chris Froome

Tour de France winner has one last unfulfilled wish to share his victory with his late mother Jane

As Chris Froome raced on to the Champs-Elysées proudly clad in yellow yesterday, there was at last one wish that remained sadly unfulfilled: that his mother Jane, who died of cancer in 2008, was not there to see him do it.

“I’d give anything to see her smile with me coming into Paris [today], I know she’d be chuffed to bits,” Froome said before yesterday’s concluding stage.

The Kenyan-born Briton also  revealed that his mother was pivotal to his cycling career taking off, encouraging him to quit his economics degree, for which he was studying in South Africa, to start racing in Italy in 2007. The rest, as they say, is history.

“Cycling was a hobby and I really loved it, but I was training to go into the corporate world... and when I made that decision to go and spend six months in Europe she was behind me 100 per cent, saying ‘Go for it, do what makes you happy, there’s nothing worse than being in a job you’re miserable in and you’ll be forever asking yourself, what if...’”

Even now, he says, his mother remains a “huge inspiration and motivation for me to be as successful as I can on the bike. She always encouraged me to follow my dreams.”

The Tour is one dream accomplished, but Froome revealed he has another for 2013: to win the world championship in Florence on 29 September. “I’d like to try and stay on it, try and see the season through and not just switch off after the Tour,” the 28-year-old Sky rider said. “It’s a good course for the climbers this year, which doesn’t happen very often, and I’ve got to make the most of that – and that’s an opportunity to make this the focus of the second part of my year.”

The last British winner of the world title was Mark Cavendish, on a completely flat course in Denmark in 2011.

Froome will not take part in the worlds’ time trial, which remains the big target of Sir Bradley Wiggins, a silver medallist in the category in 2011. “It’s a very flat course and will suit Brad better than me, so I will focus my energy on the road-race,” Froome said. “My focus has just been on the Tour up to now, but being world champion is probably the second biggest thing after wearing the yellow jersey.”

The advantage by which Froome finally held the Tour winner’s yellow jersey, five minutes and three seconds, is the biggest in 10 years. But – perhaps inevitably for a rider leading the Tour de France for the first time – he said he never felt certain his margin would be sufficient.

“I never thought I’d have won it by so much; it’s a really significant gap. But every night I’d be going to bed thinking, ‘Okay, I’ve got this lead but at any second something’s going to challenge that’. I’ve been so fortunate not to have had a  mechanical [fault] at the wrong time, a crash, anything going wrong in that respect. It’s been great having had that five-minute  advantage but it was pretty hard work to get it.”

The moment when Froome came under most pressure was arguably on stage nine through the Pyrenees, just 24 hours after taking the yellow jersey for the first time. With his team scattered, he had to resist a prolonged temptation to panic as he braced himself for attacks over 100 kilometres and four mountain passes.

“It would have been easy to sit in the bunch and not follow the attacks of guys like [Nairo] Quintana,” he reflected. “But I thought, ‘I’ve worked bloody hard to get here, I’m not just going to let this race ride away from me because I’m on my own. I’ve got two legs, I can do just as well as the rest of the guys in this front bunch’.”

Froome’s resilience may have surprised some, but not Sky’s team principal, Sir Dave Brailsford. “There is a point with Froomie where he won’t be pushed around,” Brailsford says. “There’s a fighter in there, [but]  because he has this fantastic polite sheen, when it does come out you don’t expect it. He’s so polite but all of a sudden he’ll just be very committed – if you push him too hard he’ll just say ‘No, I’m not doing that’.”

Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal
peopleThreats follows actress' speech on feminism and equality at the UN
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
Arts and Entertainment
Worldwide ticket sales for The Lion King musical surpassed $6.2bn ($3.8bn) this summer
tvMusical is biggest grossing show or film in history
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
food + drink
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Business Analyst/ Project Manager - Financial Services

£60000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client in the Financial...

Science Teacher

£85 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Job Opportunity for Secondary ...

Year 6 Teacher - Flintshire

Negotiable: Randstad Education Chester: Key Stage 2 Teachers needed in Flintsh...

Year 6 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Chester: Year 6 Teachers urgently needed for su...

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits