Chris Froome has abandoned the Critérium du Dauphiné before the decisive mountain stages of the weekend, after feeling unwell and Israel-Premier Tech medical staff advising him to rest-up and focus on recovery.
Froome (opens in new tab) was showing some signs of form after two years of pain and suffering following his crash at the 2019 Critérium du Dauphiné (opens in new tab) and was hoping to secure a place in the Israel-Premier Tech Tour de France (opens in new tab) roster. It is unclear how Froome’s problems will impact him being in Copenhagen for the start of the Tour on July 1.
Israel-Premier Tech (opens in new tab) did not reveal details of Froome problems, only saying he was “feeling unwell the past two days.”
“I was looking forward to the final two stages of the Dauphiné, but I haven’t been feeling 100 percent,” Froome said Saturday morning.
“It’s disappointing to leave the race unfinished, but I’ve been progressing well, and I don’t want to set myself back at this important stage of the season.”
Three years have passed since Froome suffered severe injuries in a crash while reconnoitring the time trial on the 2019 Critérium du Dauphiné.
He completed both the 2020 Vuelta a España and 2021 Tour de France in the intervening period, but he was still hindered by his injuries and further crashes during last year’s Tour.
He was expressing optimism about his return to form but now Israel-Premier Tech face some tough decisions about Froome’s role in their Tour de France squad, while also trying to score as many UCI Ranking points as possible to avoid relegation from the WorldTour in 2023.
"This is the first time, really, in the last three years that I’ve been fully niggle-free, issue free. I haven’t had any pain, I haven’t had any discomfort, the left-right leg balance is in place," Froome said ahead of stage 2 of the Dauphiné.
"Basically, it’s just been an uninterrupted period since January until now of being able to work consistently and move things in the right direction. I’m seeing the results of that."
"It’s understandable that people have got these expectations given what I’ve achieved in my career, but, at the same time, I think people need to remember where I’m coming from, these last three years, is a completely different place," he said.
Froome was due to ride the Mont Ventoux Challenge on Tuesday but that now seems unlikely. Like most teams, Israel-Premier Tech are likely to select their eight riders for the Tour de France after the Tour de Suisse.
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Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.