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Chris Froome vows he’ll be ready to race the Tour de France, though he admits there are some stiff headwinds as he continues his recovery from injury. In a video interview released on the Team Ineos website, the four-time Tour winner spoke in length about his recovery, his motivation and his ambition to be at the start line in Nice with his teammates in late June.
“The only appointment I’ve set myself is Tour de France,” Froome said on the team website. “And until then, every week I’m just going to keep chipping away, keep trying to make the most of every camp, every race, building up to July and hope that come that start line in Nice in July, I’ll be ready to go.”
There’s been plenty of speculation that Froome, 34, might not be able to return to his highest level in the wake of a devastating crash during a training ride last June at the Critérium du Dauphiné. Subsequent surgeries and months of rehab mean that Froome has not raced since then. Froome only recently was able to fully train on the bike, and is currently joining his teammates at a training camp on Spain’s Gran Canaria.
“The prospect of going for a fifth yellow jersey is just massive for me,” Froome said. “It’s such a motivation, but on top of that, now, obviously coming back from this injury, it’s just even more reason for me to try and get back there. I mean there are no guarantees in sport, no guarantees that I’ll be back to challenge for it, but I’m going to give it absolutely everything I’ve got.”
Team Ineos boss Dave Brailsford has already signaled that 2018 winner Geraint Thomas and 2019 winner Egan Bernal will lead the team in July. If Froome is ready, Brailsford said he will have a spot. So far, the team has not revealed when Froome will return to racing.
Froome, meanwhile, has been patiently working through recovery, and said he’s encouraged that he is able to join his teammates on early-season training rides.
“I’ve been given all the green lights now to get back on the bike, and I’m just making that transition now from the rehab phase back into normal training again,” Froome said. “So I’m really feeling the fitness at the moment, but you’ve got to start somewhere, and I’m just incredibly fortunate to be back on the bike again and for everything to be working correctly.
“I’m fully conscious that these next few months are going to be pretty tough,” he continued. “There’s going to be a lot of hard work, and I’ve got a lot of ground to make up and to get back to where I was.”