Chris Froome has made it clear that he will not be vying to claim the general classification at the 2021 Volta a Catalunya.
Speaking before the start of Stage 1 in Calella, the 35-year-old gave reporters an update on his condition and his prospects ahead of the race.
While he has frequently used the Volta a Catalunya as a key event for building up his form to peak for Grand Tours, he does not feel in the right condition to challenge for the title.
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"It’s good to have a good team of guys here, and we’ll look to be up there fighting for the victory with Dan Martin and Mike Woods. It’s a good week ahead,” Froome said.
"I’m just coming off an altitude training camp, so it’ll be good to see what my progression is.
I know I’m not going to be personally fighting for the victory here, I won’t be at that level yet, but I’m hoping to see some progression.
Asked if his fitness was as he'd like, Froome added: "I’m really just taking it one week at a time, building up and doing the best I can, see where we get to for the Tour."
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In his feature article exploring Froome's chances of making an impact this season, Eurosport writer Tom Owen marked this event down as "a tough, climbing-heavy stage race which should show whether Froome’s time at altitude has borne fruit."
Owen wrote: "Froome came 43rd at the UAE Tour. Defending maillot jaune Tadej Pogacar, meanwhile, looked utterly dominant on his way to the overall win.
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"Primoz Roglic has also showed that he is in fine fettle this month. It’s hard to see both Slovenians’ form dipping so dramatically that they meet Froome on his ‘way up’, so to speak.
"When Froome says he has more work to do, he is right – but it’s becoming clearer and clearer that he doesn’t have enough time left to do that work before Le Tour kicks off in June."
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