Tour de France champion Chris Froome (Sky) on the attack during stage 3 at the Tour of Oman
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Brailsford: "We just want to be careful"
Team Sky has flatly denied rumours circulating at Tirreno-Adriatico that Chris Froome may need a minor operation to resolve the back injury that stopped him from competing in the Italian stage race.
Froome won the recent Tour of Oman with a strong performance on the key stage to Green Mountain. However he was laid low after returning to Europe and Team Sky pulled him from Tirreno-Adriatico last Friday, saying he had a "slight inflammation to the sacroiliac joint in the lower back."
The injury is difficult to diagnose because it concerns the joint between the illium and sacrum bones in the lower hip.
"No operation is needed. He's got a small inflammation but we just decided to rest it so that he can get rid of it. It's as simple as that. No operation," Team Sky manager Dave Brailsford told Cyclingnews when asked for a reply to the rumours.
"As with all these things, we shouldn't make more of it than it is. He'll be back racing in Catalunya next week."
Froome has apparently worked on his position on the bike during the winter to improve his riding style when under extreme effort but it is not clear if this has played a part in his injury.
"I think sometimes it happens. I think top riders struggle with little things, little niggles," Brailsford told Cyclingnews.
"That's all it is, a niggle. We just want to be careful. If it was any other rider, maybe we say 'Ok, push on.' But given the goals of the summer and where we're at now, we just wanted to proceed with caution.
"While Tirreno-Adriatico is a very important goal, you need to know when to manage things and when to push on. We felt this was a time to manage it. Chris is not chasing form, he's in good shape, so a couple of days to relax and get back on top of things is a wise move."
Brailsford insisted there were no concerns about if the back injury could affect Froome's preparation for the Tour de France.
"We're not overly concerned. Two years ago when Chris finished second in the Tour de France, he missed Paris-Nice. That was in the back of our minds and reminded us that we've been here before. He's in good shape and I don’t think anyone should make more of it than what it is."
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