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?
Caption competition
Caption competition
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: Account Manager / Sales Executive - Contract Hire

£35000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leader provides c...

Recruitment Genius: Project Coordinator

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - Midlands

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - 3-4 Month Fixed Contract - £30-£35k pro rata

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a 3-4 month pro rata fi...

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin