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’.”

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
Sport
Ross Barkley
footballPaul Scholes says it's time for the Everton playmaker to step up and seize the England No 10 shirt
News
'We will fix it': mice in the 1970s children’s programme Bagpuss
science
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Retail Buyer / Ecommerce Buyer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - CAD Software Solutions Sales

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...

Ashdown Group: Client Accountant Team Manager - Reading

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?