Two years on from his horrific crash at the 2019 edition of the Critérium du Dauphiné, Chris Froome is still battling his way back from the injuries he sustained there and has returned to the French stage race hoping to see some progress.
After a recent three-week altitude camp in Tenerife, the four-time Tour de France winner believes he has made improvements of late, and is hoping to see that replicated in his performances over the next eight days.
"The biggest goal for me this week is to see some of the some of the numbers that have been coming through in training coming through in the race as well," Froome said prior to the start of the Dauphiné’s opening stage in sun-bathed Issoire.
"I’d love to see a progression in terms of the climbing. I’d like to get further into the climbs than I have done previously this season. That would be a big, big win for me."
Froome lines up as part of an Israel Start-Up Nation squad that also includes Ben Hermans, Alexander Cataford, Omer Goldstein, Reto Hollenstein, Alexis Renard, and Mads Wurtz Schmidt.
"I’m looking forward to racing, there’s a strong peloton here in the Dauphiné, so it’s a great opportunity for us to test ourselves. We’ve got a very strong group of guys here," Froome said.
"We’re definitely looking for the breakaways and also at trying to keep Ben Hermans up there for the general classification. There are a lot of strong GC guys here, so it’s going to be tough work, but it’s a great place for us to be able to test our legs."
Froome said that his focus is still very much on being more competitive at the Tour de France, which starts in four weeks time.
"That’s been the big focus for the last few weeks and it’s certainly not getting easier as the years go on, but I’m heading in the right direction and quietly hoping I get down a little bit further on in the weeks before the Tour," he said.
Asked, with the Tour in mind, whether the Dauphiné time trial or the three big days in the mountains that close the race are most significant, Froome replied: "The biggest test here is definitely the climbs. That's where I'm looking to measure myself this week. I think I’ve done a lot of a lot of preparation this year, and it would good to see the results of that."
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