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Chris Froome: If people are writing me off, that's fine

Chris Froome (Israel Start-Up Nation) suffered again on the climb to the finish
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Chris Froome insists he’s still on track to return to his best level, despite receiving what he described as a ‘kicking’ at the recent Volta a Catalunya.

The week-long Spanish race was Froome’s second of the season after February’s UAE Tour, which itself came after a winter of rehabilitation on issues that lingered from his career-threatening 2019 crash. 

Froome insisted ahead of the race he had no delusions of success in Catalunya, and he finished the week in 81st place, his best result coming with 51st place on the stage 3 summit finish, where he finished 5:43 down on stage winner Adam Yates. 

“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 on Friday.

“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, who fractured his right femur in the crash in June 2019, was encouraged that the power balance between his legs was finally evening out after the issues he faced during a low-key 2020 campaign. 

He felt he was ‘pedalling squares’ on the undulating opening stage, where he lost eight minutes, but attributed that to his recent return from altitude training. He had much better feelings in the stage 2 time trial, which he finished in 90th place, noticing a rise in his heart rate as he was able to ‘open the system’. 

Froome went on to work for Israel Start-Up Nation teammates Michael Woods, who was 11th overall, and Daryl Impey, who was second on the stage 6 sprint. The mountainous nature of the race added up to a significant block that Froome hopes will allow him to take the next step in his return to competitiveness.

“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. It was great to get that work in the legs, and I definitely feel there’s a lot more work still to do," Froome said.

"With the right left I’m finally starting to get the power out now, which is fantastic. 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. That takes months build up, so I’m in that process.

"Year on year, it’s the same battle to try and get back to that race fitness again. Obviously this time I’m coming from a much lower point but the bigger thing for me is having that symmetry left and right and it’s fantastic to see that’s come on so far from last season. I’ve just got to work hard, get the race fitness back, and hopefully be back in the game."

After the race, Froome travelled to Germany to test his position on the bike and look for any biomechanics issues. He had a new insole custom made for his left shoe after noticing a pressure point that was causing him pain on the ball of his foot. 

He has since travelled to Tenerife for more altitude training and will return to racing later this month at the Tour of the Alps, followed by the Tour de Romandie. The Tour de France remains his major season objective. 

"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 concluded.