Chris Froome believes team-mate Chris Lawless will take a lot of confidence from his Tour de Yorkshire victory.
The Giro d’Italia champion worked hard in the service of Lawless as the Wigan rider held onto the Yorkshire Bank and Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries blue general classification jersey as the race ended in front of huge crowds in Leeds.
Lawless had to hold off the challenge of reigning champ Greg van Avermaet, who took the stage win but finished two seconds down on the Team INEOS rider.
And Froome said: “This is going to give him a lot of confidence… if he needed any more confidence. I’m not sure what his programme is going forward but he can take the experience from here and use it going forward.
“I’m super proud of how the guys rode today, especially Chris in the final there, being able to follow Greg at the crucial part of the race. He rode a fantastic race and fully deserves that victory.”
When asked what it means for a rider like Lawless to hold off the challenge of a much more seasoned pro like van Avermaet, Froome said: “It’s massive – I couldn’t follow at that moment, chapeau to him, he fully deserves that victory.”
Despite weather conditions that at times verged on the apocalyptic – with high winds, torrential rain and hail plaguing much of the first three stages – tens of thousands of spectators braved the elements to line the route.
Froome said he was delighted to be able to race on ‘home roads’: “It was a lot of fun. I don’t get the opportunity to race in Britain often.
“I enjoy riding in front of home crowds and even though the weather has been Yorkshire weather, the people have been super friendly, super welcoming. Just a great atmosphere out on the road.”
The four-time Tour de France winner’s attentions will now turn to the summer showpiece with recon rides and a training camp planned before his last pre-Tour race at the Dauphine in mid-June.
Yorkshire Bank is an Official Partner of the Tour de Yorkshire and the ground-breaking Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries initiative. Visit www.ybonline.co.uk/tdy