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Road back to Tour de France begins in California for Chris Froome

Four-time Tour winner traveled to California with his family shortly after Vuelta a España to begin next chapter of his career.

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Chris Froome‘s road back to the Tour de France begins in California.

The four-time Tour de France winner has been in southern California with his family since shortly after the conclusion of the Vuelta a España. For the past several weeks, he’s been training with friends on long rides far away from the cold European winter.

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The star rider will remain in sunny California for the next several weeks, Israel Start-Up Nation officials confirmed, as he prepares for what will be one of the most important seasons of his career.

The team’s head of performance, Paulo Saldanha, recently traveled from Canada to California to visit Froome.

It was decided that Froome would stay in California to continue his recovery and training rather than return to Europe for the team’s camp later this month near Girona, Spain.

“After our internal assessment and discussion, we felt it was important for him to continue in his current environment in California,” said Saldanha, who is now working as Froome’s lead trainer. “We feel this is most conducive for continuing his progress both on and off the bike.”

Froome has also been working on his rehabilitation at the Red Bull High Performance Center in Santa Monica. Froome had a link to the facility via friends, and he’s been working on his core strength between training sessions.

Speaking to Het Nieuwsblad, new sport director Rik Verbrugghe said the team is hopeful Froome can return to his former best.

“He has become so much stronger,” Verbrugghe told HNB. “Due to the lockdown in Monaco last March, his rehabilitation was not perfect. And then suddenly competition returned. Right now, he’s working on his strength so his right leg is as strong as his left leg.”

Froome’s informal training camp comes as he joins Israel Start-Up Nation in one of the highest-profile transfers of the season.

Sometime in the next few weeks — his planned start at the Vuelta a San Juan in Argentina looks unlikely — Froome will officially don his new ISN jersey, and start a new chapter.

Team officials said his racing calendar is still not confirmed, but it’s likely he will resume racing in February, possibly at the Ruta del Sol or the Volta ao Algarve.

The big question is — can Froome win another Tour? Every rider in Tour history who has won four yellow jerseys has gone on to win five.

Chris Froome is preparing for the 2021 season from southern California. Photo: Noa Arnon/ISN