ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (VN) — Chris Froome is back on his bike and riding toward the 2016 season after breaking a bone in his foot during the Vuelta a España. He completed his first three-hour ride last week, and is “motivated” for the coming season given the setback.
The 2013 and 2015 Tour de France winner crashed in the Vuelta’s stage 11, abandoned the race, and ended his season. He attended the UCI’s end-of-season gala Sunday night in Abu Dhabi, where he confirmed he is working toward 2016, including the Olympics.
“I’m thinking about , but we still have all of our team meetings still to come, all of our planning, but it’s definitely in the mind already now,” the Sky rider told journalists after arriving on the red carpet.
“My Vuelta injury has given me that extra little motivation to get back into the season and back to where I was.
“I’ve only literally just started back on my bike the last few days. I did three hours, two days ago and that was about it. Easing back into it. A couple of little rides. The longest has been three hours.”
The 30-year-old Brit said at the beginning of the month that he would mix the Tour with the Rio de Janeiro Olympics next summer, aiming for the yellow jersey and the gold medals in the road race and time trial.
He said Sunday the Olympics could help his 2016 season top 2015, when he won his second Tour title.
“Well… It’s pretty hard to go better than winning the Tour de France, but next year, being an Olympic year, that would be incredible to do well in the Olympics as well.”
Froome flew in the day before the gala, hosted by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council at the end of the Abu Dhabi Tour, and departed immediately afterward.
He dined next to Dutchman Tom Dumoulin of Giant-Alpecin, who won the fair play award, and American Molly Shaffer Van Houweling, the women’s hour record holder, during the gala. Froome, of course, also stepped onto the stage so the UCI could recognize his Tour title.
Bradley Wiggins skipped the event in order to continue preparing for this week’s European track cycling championships, but he sent a video message to thank the UCI for honoring his hour record.
“This is the first time that cycling’s had an event like this. It’s great that at the end of the season we can celebrate,” Froome added.
“What am I proud of? It’s got to be the Tour. The build up to the Tour, the hype, the pressure. Everything that goes into being ready for the Tour de France. The enormity of it all, the intensity of it all.
“It’s one thing to plan for it, another thing to act and pull it off, to go through the race, wearing the yellow jersey all the way to Paris.”