Four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome says he believes he can recapture his best form after a difficult start to the year with his new team Israel Start-Up Nation. Froome finished 81st at the Tour of Catalonia last week, almost an hour behind winner Adam Yates in a race dominated by his old team Ineos Grenadiers. The 35-year-old British rider is still working his way back after being seriously injured in a high-speed crash in 2019 that threatened to end his career.
“From the outside, I can imagine people are writing me off, but that’s fine. I know where I’ve come from,” Froome said in his latest YouTube vlog.
“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 de France four times in five years from 2013 but was left out of the Ineos line-up for last year’s race, having missed the 2019 edition while spending months in rehabilitation.
He came 47th on his Israel Start-Up Nation debut at the UAE Tour in February, and again stated his wish for another crack at a record-equalling fifth Tour de France title.
After losing considerable ground on the opening stage of last month’s mountainous, week-long race in Catalonia, Froome shifted his focus to assisting team-mates Michael Woods and Daryl Impey.
“It was a great way to get intensity in the legs. You can train all you want but being in a peloton, racing full gas every day, there’s no substitute for that,” said Froome.
“It was great to get that work in the legs, and I definitely feel there’s a lot more work still to do.”
“I’m just missing race fitness – simple as that. I’ve got to put the hard miles in now, get my weight down and keep building on that intensity,” he continued.
“That takes months’ build-up, so I’m in that process.
“I’ve just got to work hard, get the race fitness back, and hopefully be back in the game.”
Froome is in Tenerife at the moment for more altitude training and is scheduled to return to racing at the Tour of the Alps (April 19-23) before competing in the Tour de Romandie.
“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 in the year,” he said.
RBA/AFP Photos: Bettini