Froome opens big season with prologue in Australia

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[February 03, 2016]    MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Tour de France champion Chris Froome made a smooth start to what could be a remarkable season for the British cyclist with a short prologue to the Herald Sun Tour in Melbourne on Wednesday.

The 30-year-old has set himself some lofty goals this year, hoping to secure a treble triumph of double Olympic gold and a third Tour de France title.

"It's definitely a bit of a lung opener, that ride," the Team Sky rider told reporters after an incident-free 2.1 km dash around Melbourne's Southbank.

"It was a really short, intense little sprint basically," he added.

Froome clocked two minutes 42.1 seconds to cross the line eight seconds off the pace in 26th and his best chance of a victory in the five-stage race is likely to come at the summit finish at Arthurs Seat on Sunday's final day.

"I'm happy with that... the main objective today was just to stay upright," he said.

"The racing is still going to be decided over these next few days. Undoubtedly, once we get to Arthurs Seat at the end, that's going to be the big day."

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by John O'Brien)

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