Britain's Chris Froome during the 2016 Tour de France.
Britain's Chris Froome during the 2016 Tour de France. Peter Dejong

Tour de France winner Froome to race Down Under again

CYCLING: Chris Froome will begin his campaign for a fourth Tour De France in Australia.

The Briton will race in the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race in Victoria on January 29 before defending his Herald Sun Tour title, starting on February 1.

The 31-year-old has decided, however, the Tour Down Under in South Australia will not be part of his schedule as he looks to claim the grand tour crown he won in Paris last year.

"I'm really looking forward to starting my season in Australia again,” Froome said in a statement.

"I love riding in Australia.

"The weather is great and the crowds always come out in force to support the riders. That makes it all the more enjoyable.

"It's always tough racing and a really strong, competitive field - so it's an ideal way for me to kick off my year. I took a similar approach last year and felt it was a great way to set up my season.”

Columbian Esteban Chaves will provide some stiff opposition for Froome.

The Giro d'Italia runner-up will also race both events.

"He (Froome) is obviously happy with how he did last season in winning the Herald Sun Tour and then winning the Tour de France, so maybe we can copy that,” Chaves said.

"I have started training early, which is new for me. But the important thing is I'm super motivated, I'm happy to do it and I'll go 100%.”