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Tour de France

Chris Froome bats away retirement talk: ‘No plans on retiring this year’

'There is no evidence that I have reached a peak or a plateau in terms of progression that I have seen this year,' Froome says.

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COPENHAGEN (VN) — Chris Froome batted away suggestions Thursday that he plans to retire at the end of 2022.

The 37-year-old emphatically denied rumors of an imminent retirement, and insisted that he’s so encouraged by his latest progress on his long road back from injury that he vows to keep racing for the foreseeable future.

“No plans on retiring this year,” Froome said Thursday. “Especially with the great progress I’ve been seeing, that gives me a lot of hope for continuing to go forward. There is no evidence that I have reached a peak or a plateau in terms of progression that I have seen this year.

“I am going to keep building on those good feelings and momentum and see where it gets me to.”

Froome, who is starting his 10th career Tour de France on Friday, said he is encouraged by his latest numbers and sensations on the bike.

He said despite a setback during last month’s Critérium du Dauphiné, when he had to pull out mid-race with illness, he’s been seeing steady progression since January.

“It’s only been in the last few months during this build up to the Tour de France that I’ve felt for the first time in three years issue-free,” he said. “I’ve had no niggles or pain holding me back since January. Everything is on an upward trajectory for me.”

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More than anything, Froome said he continues to race and train simply because he did not want to end his career with his devastating crash at the 2019 Dauphiné.

“I’ve come back from a horrendous crash that over the last three years and that wasn’t the way I wanted to end my career,” he said Thursday.

“Many thanks to [team owner Sylvan Adams] who gave me the opportunity to continue racing with this team, and it’s a team I am committed to until the end of my career.

“I think it’s an opportunity to get back into the pointy end of the sport, so after the injuries I’ve had, it’s the driving force for me,” he said. “It’s the biggest goal for me at the moment. It’s what gets me out of bed and onto my bike every day. It’s not winning the Tour de France right now, but I still dream about it. I am going to keep chasing that dream.”

Also read: Power numbers on the up for Chris Froome

Froome revealed in a video posted on YouTube this week that he’s within 10 to 15 percent of his Tour-winning power numbers, another encouraging sign.

The four-time winner admitted he won’t be racing for yellow this year, and he reflected on the 2014 Tour when he was forced to abandon in injury.

Froome returns to the cobbles in this year’s Tour. In 2014, he was forced to abandon the Tour after crashing in the same stage that featured the pavé, and he abandoned before hitting the sectors.

His absence that year broke up his string of four yellow jerseys, and opened the door for Vincenzo Nibali to win in 2014.

“I didn’t even make it to the cobbles. I had already crashed twice before we hit the cobbles, but that’s just the way it was meant to be,” Froome said. “I have no fear of the cobbles. I’ve raced on them a few times and I actually quite enjoy it. It’s going to be an exciting stage, let’s put it that way.”

No rider who’s ever won four yellow jerseys did not go on to a fifth one.

Perhaps Froome could become the first rider to win four and not achieve the elusive “five win club,” but so long as he’s still racing, he is clearly still dreaming.

Froome received huge cheers Wednesday evening from effusive crowds at the Tour team’s presentation, something that left him moved.

“This is my 10th Tour and I think I had seen it all before, but when I went to the presentation last night, it was just a whole new experience, and chapeau to Copenhagen for that,” he said. “It left me thinking last night, I shouldn’t for a second think that I know what to expect.

“I’ve been down this road before. Every Tour is unique and every race is unique. Every Tour tells its own story. It’s a huge privilege for me to be here and to be part of what is my 10th Tour de France. I am looking forward to what these next three weeks hold.”