A blow of the nose, a gust of wind: Froome’s Tour hopes hit wall at 60kph
Boss Dave Brailsford said it’s too early know how they might affect the rest of his season or career.
What he does know is that Froome will not be racing for a record-tying fifth yellow jersey at the Tour de France next month. Speaking to journalists at the Dauphiné on Wednesday, Brailsford said Froome’s forced exit from the Tour is a hard blow for the entire organization.
“This is very hard for Chris,” Brailsford said. “He was in magnificent condition for a fifth victory in the Tour. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen him at this level.”
Froome crashed Wednesday in a final passage over the 26km time trial course at the Dauphiné. Froome fell heavily and was transported to a regional hospital. In a statement issued by the team later in the day, team doctor Richard Usher commended the medical treatment Froome received.
Brailsford described details from the crash, saying that Froome was riding at about 60kph on a descent during a recon of the 26km time trial course around Roanne.
“At the start of the descent, Chris wanted to blow his nose, and at that moment, a sharp gust of wind pushed him against a low wall along the side of the road,” Brailsford said. “Chris remained conscious after the crash. Luckily there happened to be an ambulance right there. Sometimes we wonder what they’re doing on the side of the road, but we were lucky that help came so fast.”
The team statement said Froome had suffered multiple serious injuries. As well as fracturing his femur and elbow, it also stated he had fractured ribs. Froome was initially treated at Roanne Hospital but was expected to be airlifted to St Etienne University Hospital for further treatment.
With his injuries, Froome’s hopes of joining the Tour’s five-win club are over, at least for this summer.
What that means for Ineos going into the Tour de France next month remains to be seen. Defending champion Geraint Thomas and Colombian sensation Egan Bernal will be expected to step up.
“My role as manager will now be to remobilize the team,” he said. “It’s an emotional blow for the rest of the team. We will speak about it tonight.
“It’s too early to say how we will organize the Tour, between Geraint and Egan,” he said. “The most important thing is that Chris receives the best possible medical attention. This is going to be so hard on him. He was so motivated.”
When asked if the injury could put Froome’s career in danger, Brailsford only replied, “It’s too early to say.
“It’s obvious he will not be in Brussels,” he said. “It takes a long time to get into this kind of shape, and everything can collapse quickly in a fall like this one.”