The race marks Froome’s return to racing after his scary crash at the 2019 Critérium du Dauphiné.
“It’s all I’ve thought about for months now — being back racing,” Froome said in a team release. “It will be a huge relief just to be back in the peloton again. It feels like I’ve been given a second chance to come back to pro racing after a crash like that. I’m definitely not taking that for granted.”
Froome will embark on the seven day race as the marquee member of Team Ineos’s squad, alongside Team Ineos veterans Christian Knees, Michal Golas, Eddie Dunbar, and Salvatore Puccio, and team newcomers Andrey Amador and Carlos Rodriguez.
In his comments Froome downplayed his chances at winning the season opener, which this year boasts two summit finishes atop the Jebel Hafeet climb.
“The year’s gone incredibly well so far but having said that I do still need to manage expectations,” Froome said. “I’m still quite a way off where I was at the Dauphine before the crash. It’s going to take me a while to get back to that shape.”
The cycling world has speculated about Froome’s comeback ever since his scary crash at the Dauphine, which resulted in a fractured right femur, fractured elbow, broken ribs, and a broken hip.
Froome said that his training up to this point has focused squarely on building volume to increase his aerobic base, and not intensity or intervals. He has also worked to strengthen the right leg that was injured in the crash.
“I’m still doing some rehab and physio sessions off the bike, but that’s become secondary now,” Froome said.
The return to racing at the UAE Tour, Froome said, is also a welcomed opportunity to be back in the peloton. Froome did not specify whether or not he would be Team Ineos’s GC rider for the seven-day race, saying that he, “Hopefully can do a job for the team and we can try and get the best result possible.”
“It’s been great to be back doing the normal sessions with the guys and actually being able to get through the workload again,” Froome said. “I’ve still got to work on the strength of the leg which was injured but that’s already improving quickly.”