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Froome downplays concerns about recovery

The four-time Tour de France winner's road back to competition remains uncertain and no date has been set for his first race of 2020.

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Chris Froome shot back at reports that his recovery from injury is not going as planned.

Reports of an early exit from a December Team Ineos training camp in Spain raised alarm bells about his racing future. Sources had already told VeloNews it was a planned early exit to continue with his rehabilitation efforts.

The four-time Tour de France star posted a short message on Instagram to counter a flurry of reports that hit the web over the weekend.

“Hope that I can set this straight,” Froome wrote. “I was last at a training camp at the beginning of December. My recovery is going well and I will be heading to my next training camp on Thursday. Onward.”

The buzz around Froome’s camp appearance reveals just how much uncertainty there is surrounding the return to competition for the recovering Team Ineos star.

Froome, 35 in May, has not raced since crashing during a time trial recon at the Critérium du Dauphiné in June. Froome fractured his right femur, elbow and ribs, and has undergone a series of surgeries and lengthy rehabilitation sessions, casting doubt on the future of his racing career.

In interviews this fall, Froome was hoping for a return to racing some time in February, with the larger goal of trying to be ready for the Tour de France in July. So far, there is no official confirmation of Froome’s return to competition.

There was also speculation that Ineos juggled its racing calendar in the wake of Froome’s slow progress, ruling out a possible Giro d’Italia start for 2019 Tour winner Egan Bernal and putting his focus solely on a Tour defense. Sources close to Ineos said that suggestion is incorrect, and that a Giro-Tour double attempt for Bernal would be too taxing with the prospect of a climber-friendly Olympic course on tap for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Right now, it appears newcomer Richard Carapaz will lead at the Giro in what will be a title defense for the former Movistar rider, with likely help from some of Ineos’s budding grand tour riders as well as new signing Rohan Dennis, who is expected to focus on the Giro’s time trials.

Bernal and 2018 winner Geraint Thomas are expected to headline Ineos’s efforts at the Tour. The big question remains whether or not Froome will be race-ready to handle the demands of a very challenging Tour course.

Ineos posted a full gallery of shots from the team camp here.