Two years after suffering dreadful injuries in the Criterium du Dauphine, four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome is still struggling in his quest to regain full fitness. On Wednesday’s time trial in this season’s Dauphine, a stage he would likely have won in his prime, the 36-year-old dropped another two minutes over the 10 mile course.
Since his freak fall when trying to blow his nose at high speed, Froome has vowed alternately to get back to full fitness and win a fifth Tour, and now to at least to get to the start line. He broke a leg, ribs, an elbow and vertebrae in the collision with a wall and spent over a month in intensive care.
“I’m starting back from less than zero,” Froome told AFP after the accident.
“I don’t want to leave it there,” he added.
Two years on that struggle appears stuck for now. But he has switched teams to Israel Start-Up Nation where he has a reported annual salary of five million euros ($6.11 million).
“I’ve overcome many things, nothing has stopped me before. I want to honor the sport that I love,” Froome told Velo Mag recently in answer to those who may feel it is time to give up that struggle.
“From the outside, I can imagine people are writing me off, but that’s fine. I know where I’ve come from,” Froome said.
“I had to teach myself how to walk again and I just need to keep that in perspective – how far I’ve come in the past year.”
Froome won the Tour four times in five years from 2013 and has claimed victory in the Giro d’Italia once and the Vuelta a Espana twice.
“It’s tough getting kicked every time I’m trying to be up there, but I just have to have hope in the process and believe that all that’s going to put me in the right direction for the big races later.”
RBA/AFP Photos: Bettini