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Coronavirus delay could be Froome boon, says Brailsford

Froome putting in big hours in home gym and on the trainer as he looks to make up lost time after career-threatening injuries.

Cycling’s unprecedented race stoppage could serve as a window to make up for lost time for four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome who is on the comeback trail.

Team Ineos manager Dave Brailsford said the new date for the 2020 Tour — moved from late June to August 29 — will give Froome even more time to recover from his career-threatening injuries.

“I think he sees it as an opportunity,” Brailsford told The Times. “The one thing about Chris is wow, the guy can train.”

Last summer, Froome spent nearly a month in a French hospital following a crash at the Critérium du Dauphiné that left him with a broken femur, hip, ribs, and neck. Following a series of surgeries and intense rehab, Froome returned to racing in February of 2020. There were major doubts if Froome could be in top condition in time to race the Tour.

With international racing stopped since March due to COVID-19, the unanticipated break in racing could serve as a boon for Froome. With the Tour now set to run from August 29 to September 20, Froome will have two more additional months to continue his training.

“If it gives him a little edge where he thinks he can train harder than the rest and make up for lost time when he was injured, he sees that as well as everybody else and he’s making the most of it,” Brailsford said.

“What he’s doing in his man cave over there — in the gym in the morning, on the turbo, the hours he is putting in on that thing — that hurts,” Brailsford said. “To put himself through what he is doing is just insane.”

Froome recently suggested that he is nearly fully recovered from his crash, saying last week, “I’d go as far as saying it’s pretty much complete. I am still doing some exercises off the bike just to strengthen that right side that was injured but I’m back to normal training loads again.”

Earlier this week, key stakeholders mapped out a revised racing calendar for racing to resume in August and continue into late November. Officials are quietly optimistic conditions will rebound enough to allow the Tour to be raced.

Froome has won four Tour de France titles — 2013, 2015-17 — and said the new Tour dates will be at the center of his racing calendar. Team Ineos also boasts 2018 winner Geraint Thomas, who has been riding 12 hours a day for the past three days on the indoor trainer in a fundraising effort, and defending champion Egan Bernal.