Speaking Friday, the Israel Start-Up Nation captain said he’s as aware as the rest of us that the clock is ticking.
“As I said before, it’s getting better and better, I feel that I am making progress. But I still need time,” Froome told Belgian media after stage 3 of Tour de Romandie. “I will continue to work and can only hope to get there. ”
Also read: Why I’m losing hope of Froome’s return
Froome rolled out for stage 4 of the Tour de Romandie on Saturday some 24-minutes back on race-leader Marc Soler. The Swiss race is the fourth competition of a comeback season with little to shout about, save for a short-lived foray into the breakaway on stage 4 of Tour of the Alps last month.
Earlier this week, Froome’s coach Rik Verbrugghe confirmed that the 35-year-old’s return to form is behind schedule, hinting he may need another year to return to his former peaks.
After weeks of optimism over his progress, Froome remains bullish as ever, only with a new suggestion of realism.
“I know about my injuries. I don’t expect miracles,” Froome told Neue Zürcher Zeitung earlier this week. “I won’t wake up one day and suddenly win again. I started at the bottom and I’m working my way up again.”
Froome has previously confirmed that the rehab from his career-threatening crash in 2019 was complete and that the next hurdle was to refind his racing rhythm. He added this week that a winter in the gym has also led to some negative impacts that are hampering his progress – “two to three extra kilos of weight” from muscle growth.
After the Tour de Romandie wraps up Sunday, Froome will take a rest from racing before one final push at the Critérium du Dauphiné in June.
With eight weeks and 10 race days remaining until the Grand Départ, it seems hints of doubt are seeping through Froome’s armor. But it’s not completely cracked yet.
“I still feel the hunger to race and will do everything I can to return to my best,” he said. “It’s a long process, and it’s taking longer than I expected. But I don’t want to miss this chance. In a few years’ time, I want to look back and be able to tell myself that I’ve tried everything.”