News

Froome’s form to be put to the test UAE Tour

Multiple grand tour champion to come back to racing at challenging WorldTour race, eight months since sustaining list of serious injuries in crash.

Having not raced his bike since June last year, multiple grand tour champion Chris Froome returns to the peloton Sunday. Froome will line up for Team Ineos at the UAE Tour, February 23-29.

The race will be his first since crashing during a recon ride at the Criterium du Dauphine in June, fracturing his femur, ribs and elbow. The full Ineos lineup has not yet been confirmed, but time trial world champion Rohan Dennis is also likely to be on the startline in Dubai.

The UAE Tour will provide Froome a strong indication as to where his form lies, featuring a challenging route that includes two mountaintop finishes.

With ambitions of winning a record-equalling fifth Tour de France title and Olympic medal this year, the race will also allow Froome to size up some key opponents for a potential fifth yellow jersey, with 21-year-old sensation Tadej Pogačar (UAE-Team Emirates) also set to start in Dubai as part of his Tour preparation. Froome’s former teammate Wout Poels (Bahrain-McLaren) will also provide the Kenyan a marker for where his climbing form lies.

Froome was quick to play down a wave of speculation about his recovery earlier this year, posting messages on his Instagram account confirming that his rehab and training are progressing well. He also used social media to confirm his attendance at the UAE Tour.

Though Froome has indicated he’s well on track in his recovery, the UAE Tour is far from being an early-season stroll and could provide strong indicators as to whether a fifth yellow jersey and Olympic medal are a realistic proposition this year.

Froome will not only be battling the likes of Pogacar and a trio of Jumbo-Visma team leaders at the Tour, but will be vying with teammates Egan Bernal and Geraint Thomas for leadership of his team. Reigning Tour champion Bernal recently started his season on home roads, narrowly missing out on a podium slot at Tour Colombia. Thomas starts a season centered on the Tour at Volta ao Algarve, Wednesday.