Chris Froome made his first public comments since suffering a scary crash on Wednesday that knocked him out of the Tour de France, thanking his fans and the wider cycling world for support in the wake of his setback.
Froome’s comments were posted on the Team Ineos website on Saturday afternoon.
“Firstly, I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has sent their best wishes to me since the crash,” Froome said. “This is obviously a tough time but I have taken a lot of strength from the support over the last three days. The outpouring of support has been really humbling and something I would never have expected.”
Froome was airlifted to hospital in Saint-Etienne for an emergency six-hour surgery after slamming into a wall at high speed during practice on Wednesday ahead of the fourth stage of the Criterium du Dauphine race in central France. The force of the impact fractured his pelvis, right femur, hip, right elbow and left him with broken ribs. Froome will miss out on a chance to win a record-equalling fifth Tour title next month, but after successful surgery there is hope he could return to cycling in a matter of months.
“I’d also like to extend my gratitude to the team, especially Doctor Richard Usher and his medical staff, who have been exemplary since the crash,” Froome said. “In addition, I am so thankful to the emergency services and everyone at Roanne Hospital who assisted and stabilized me, as well as the surgeons, doctors and nurses at the University Hospital of St. Etienne, who have really gone above and beyond the call of duty, for which I am ever so grateful. I know how lucky I am to be here today and how much I owe to all the paramedics and medical staff on the race.”
Froome also thanked his wife, Michelle, and the rest of his family.
Team Ineos has yet to reveal a timeline for Froome’s return to training, however doctors have estimated he could potentially return to racing in six months. Surgeons said his career is not in jeopardy. In his comments, Froome said he intends to return to racing at his best.
“Whilst this is a setback and a major one at that, I am focusing on looking forward,” Froome said. “There is a long road to recovery ahead, but that recovery starts now and I am fully focused on returning back to my best.”