One of the specialist surgeon's who operated on Chris Froome has revealed the Team Ineos rider lost close to two litres of blood due to the complex nature of his injures but has suggested he "could need around six months to come back stronger than ever."
Orthopaedic surgeon Giorgio Gresta spoke to La Gazzetta dello Sport. The Italian doctor has worked in France for the last 20 years and revealed he chose to stay late in the Saint-Etienne hospital when it was confirmed Froome was being transported by helicopter.
Froome suffered serious injuries after crashing into a low wall at 55kph while previewing the time trial course. He was stabilised and assessed at hospital in Roanne before being airlifted to St-Etienne for surgery. Froome was diagnosed with a compound fractured right femur, right elbow and ribs, with Ineos team manager Dave Brailsford revealing he also suffered some 'internal damage.'
"He was conscious and reactive, when my colleague Remi Philippot (who operated on Froome's fractured femur – ed.) and I explained what he had and what we would do," Grests revealed to La Gazzetta dello Sport.
"He was optimistic despite his injuries not being simple. He seemed determined to ride again and return to racing. From a medical point of view there won't be a problem: he can recover from all his injuries. We're at the avant-garde at Saint-Etienne, a number of athletes have come to us to recover from injuries. Froome was unlucky with his crash but he was luckily close to us."
According to French media reports, Dr. Philippot performed the "most critical intervention, which involved a complex open fracture of the right femur." That lasted four hours. Gresta revealed his surgery on Froome's elbow lasted just 40 minutes. Froome was then placed in intensive care due to the nature of his injuries, the amount of blood he lost and the complex surgery.
"The intensive care? That was a precautionary measure due to the length of the surgery and considering that the patient had lost a lot of blood, more or less two litres," Gresta told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
"He's not facing any specific risk and its important he's calm and relaxed. He'll be transferred to the normal care unit as soon as possible. His recovery time depends on his desire to fight back but he seems very motivated. He could just need six months to be back stronger than before."
On Thursday, Team Ineos confirmed that Froome would "remain in hospital for the next few days for observation, but he is already actively engaging in discussing his rehabilitation options."
Froome relayed a message through the British team, expressing thanks for the many messages of support he has received over the past 24 hours. He is expected to make a personal message of thanks in the days to come.