BERGEN, Norway (Reuters) - Chris Froome was comprehensively beaten in the individual time trial at the world championships on Wednesday, but the Briton was in grateful mood at the end of a demanding season during which he achieved a rare Tour de France/Vuelta double.
Froome, who claimed the Vuelta title 10 days ago, lacked freshness on the 31km course and settled for bronze a massive one minute 21.25 seconds behind winner Tom Dumoulin of the Netherlands, who won the team time trial with Sunweb on Sunday.
Having started only 1:30 ahead of the Giro d‘Italia champion, Froome was close to being overtaken by Dumoulin in the final metres at the end of a brutal 3.4km climb.
”He has been strong for a couple of years, riding at top level so it’s not a surprise,“ Froome told a news conference. ”Obviously he’s had a fantastic season. He was by far the strongest on the road today, no question.
“In the last kilometre I was full gas but I could hear the crowd cheering behind me so I looked back and I saw the Oranje jersey, I thought, ‘Wow, he’s flying’.”
Froome, however, was satisfied to snatch his first individual medal at a world championships.
“It was an unforgettable season for me with the Tour de France and the Vuelta. Coming here on the back of that and just giving it my all, I‘m very grateful now,” he said.
“I‘m now looking forward to spending time with my family,” he added before excusing himself from the news conference to catch a plane back to Monaco, where he resides.
Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ken Ferris