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PESCARA, Italy (VN) — Chris Froome plans to continue in the Giro d’Italia despite crashes and time loss over the opening week’s racing.
Froome lost time from the start in Israel to the race’s first proper rest day in Pescara, Italy’s south. Out on a training ride Monday, he would have had time to contemplate his 2:27 deficit to race leader and stage 9 winner Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott).
“No. No. At no point,” Froome said when asked if he had thoughts of quitting the Giro d’Italia.
Some speculated he could quit early to return for the Tour de France and a run at a fifth title in July. “No. Zero thoughts. I haven’t ever thought of it,” Froome said.
Froome has only raced the Giro d’Italia twice before, in 2009 and 2010. Since he emerged as a grand tour rider, his focus has been on the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España in late summer.
The only times he quit a grand tour has been when he crashed. He fell multiple times in the opening days of the 2014 Tour de France. Vincenzo Nibali went on to win that year, but Froome won before in 2013 and later in 2015, 2016, and 2017. He also crashed and pulled out of the 2015 Vuelta.
Two crashes have hampered Froome’s first legitimate attempt to win the Giro. He fell while previewing the stage 1 time trial in Jerusalem and again in the wet uphill final on Montevergine di Mercogliano in stage 8.
“It’s been a tough start for me. Ever since the crash in Jerusalem, I’ve been on the back foot. Everyone could see that,” Froome said.
“It’s not a position I’m used to, but it’s early days in the race and we are not even halfway through. I’m still motivated, the body has taken a bit of a beating. Ever since that crash, I haven’t felt myself, if I’m honest.
“I’ve had quite a bit of pain on the right side. I’m feeling quite unbalanced because the left is obviously having to work a lot harder. I’m recovering, trying to get back into the race.”
Team Sky was so concerned about the Jerusalem crash that it took Froome to the hospital for an MRI scan. Froome said the test revealed nothing strange.
Froome lost 37 seconds to Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) in the opening 9.7-kilometer time trail. He lost 17 seconds on a small uphill finish in a few days later, and on Sunday he drifted away at two kilometers from the Gran Sasso finish line at over 2000 meters in altitude.
“I always came into the Giro with a plan of building to the race, into the second half of the race with the bigger goal of doing the Giro d’Italia and going on to the Tour de France. It was never my objective to arrive to the Giro and fire on all cylinders. As we’ve seen in riders who’ve done that in the past, they reach July and have nothing,” Froome said.
“But the crash was definitely a setback for me, also the second crash didn’t help, also on the right side. That’s the nature of cycling and the Giro is more unpredictable, a different race.”
Froome must also face a judge due to his anti-doping test in last year’s Vuelta a España. He tested for twice the allowed amount of asthma drug salbutamol.
Froome said he’s a long-time asthma sufferer. Asked if he is still using salbutamol, he explained, “I don’t think that’s really everyone’s business, to be honest. That’s my medical information.”