Team Ineos posted on their social media accounts Wednesday to confirm that the four-time Tour de France champion would be pinning a number on his back for the first time since the Criterium du Dauphine last June. Froome crashed heavily during a stage recon, incurring a shopping-list of injuries including a broken femur, ribs, and elbow. Since then, he has been undergoing extensive rehab and only got back on his bike in late 2019.
“Training’s been going really well over here in Gran Canaria, so I’m really happy to announce that I’m going to be starting my season at the UAE Tour next month,” said Froome in a video message.
After a wave of speculation over the status of Froome’s recovery earlier this month, the announcement will quieten those doubting his fitness. Froome has made it very clear that he has big goals for 2020, with a record-equalling fifth Tour de France title and Olympic Gold both on his hit-list.
Team Ineos confirmed recently that defending champion Egan Bernal and 2018 winner Geraint Thomas would lead the team at the Tour this year, and avoided outlining Froome’s race plans. Froome was quick to confirm that he would do all he could to be in shape for the French race, calling it ‘the only appointment’ in his calendar.
Froome’s return to the peloton next month will be a vital step in his build to an attempted Tour de France start.
The UAE Tour was a new addition to the calendar in 2019. The WorldTour race made for a popular option with GC contenders due to its balanced mix of time trials, summit finishes, and sprint or hilly stages, though Froome chose not to race.
With the mixture of stages on offer at the seven-day race, Froome will be able to test his legs in a variety of situations. The world, and his team, will be watching closely.