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Chris Froome hopes for a speedy return to racing

Chris Froome hopes to race again in 2019 and will participate in the Saitama Criterium in October.

Chris Froome hopes to race his bicycle before the 2019 season ends.

The four-time Tour de France champion told The Telegraph that he plans to participate in the Saitama Criterium in October, and that he would like to race before the season comes to a close.

“It would be great to be able to do some of those post-season events that I typically do in the off-season,” Froome said. “Just to get back into the pro scene again. It would great if I could do something before January.”

If and when Froome returns to competition, the moment would mark a bookend to one of the darkest periods of the 34-year-olds racing career. In June Froome suffered a horrific crash at the Critérium du Dauphiné that saw him break multiple bones and lose nearly four pints of blood.

The accident kept him out of the Tour de France, which was won by his 22-year-old teammate Egan Bernal.

“I’m grateful to be alive. I’m grateful to be on the road to recovery, I’m grateful that I’m able to recover,” Froome said. “Now I’ve got to give it everything.”

Froome said there is a five-minute period of memory that is missing from the day of the incident. He said the missing memory “drives me crazy.”

“I guess the fact that I can’t remember anything means it’s not going to haunt me in that sense,” he said.

Froome underwent emergency surgery after the crash, and spent much of July and August recovering from the wounds. Then, last week, Froome revealed that he had sliced a tendon in his thumb with a kitchen knife in an accident at home.

That wound also required surgery.

“Loads of people came out after the crash and said ‘he’s done, he’ll never win another Tour.’ They only spur me on.”

Froome is in a race against time to reach top form for the important 2020 season. The 34-year-old wants to target a record-equalling fifth Tour de France title. He also plans to compete in the Tokyo Olympics, which are scheduled immediately after the Tour. Froome said he would like to participate in both the road race and the individual time trial.

“I think the Olympic road race has over 5000m of climbing. Temperatures should be close to 40C. Humidity through the roof…it should be an extremely grueling race,” Froome added. “And coming a week after doing the Tour – assuming I’m doing the Tour – it’s almost perfect. I’d like to throw my hat in the ring for both.”

At the same time, his teammate Bernal became the youngest Tour winner in the modern era. If Froome succeeds in the Tour, he would be the second oldest winner. The oldest is Firmin Lambot, who won in 1922 at 36.