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Chris Froome in battle for Tour de France survival after crash injuries

Chris Froome (Israel Start-Up Nation) at the 2021 Tour de France
Chris Froome (Israel Start-Up Nation) at the 2021 Tour de France (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Chris Froome (Israel Start-Up Nation) made it to the finish of stage 2 of the Tour de France atop the Mûr-de-Bretagne and vowed to fight on despite his painful injuries from his stage 1 crash

The four-time Tour de France winner was dropped before the first climb of the Mûr-de-Bretagne and then rode to the finish with Israel Start-up Nation teammate Rick Zabel, losing 11:41. He is 172nd in the 180-rider overall classification, 26:08 down on new race leader and stage 2 winner Mathieu van der Poel. 

Froome has no overall hopes in this year’s Tour after his gradual recovery from his 2019 Critérium du Dauphiné crash injuries and so time is not important. Now he is riding to survive each stage in the hope of recovering from his crash injuries. Fortunately, they were in his left leg and not his right leg that was fractured in 2019. 

He was lucky to avoid broken bones in the stage 1 crash but was left with swelling and bruising to his left inner thigh and thorax that initially affected his breathing. He was in hospital undergoing scans and check until 1 a.m. on Saturday but fought the pain to ride stage 2.

“It’s pretty swollen and pretty painful, it hurts when I stand up but it’s alright,” Froome said post-stage beyond the finish area before riding down to his Israel Start-Up Nation team bus.

“I was able to get through today and if I take it one day at a time, I can try and survive until the time trial. Then I can maybe take it as a recovery day. I hope to come round and give more to the team over the next week.”

Sunday evening will be busy with more medical and physio treatment to ease his pain.

“I’m going to spend time with my physio and with some ice to try to bring the swelling down. I’ll get my feet up and take it as easy as possible,” he said.

This is Froome's first Tour de France since he suffered a double femur fracture to his right leg, multiple other fractures and a collapsed lung as he previewed the time trial course at the 2019 Critérium du Dauphiné.

He had vowed to return to the Tour in pursuit of a record-equalling fifth victory but his return to competitive form has been slow, forcing him to lower his objectives He is riding the Tour as Israel Start-Up Nation's road captain and helping team leaders Michael Woods and Dan Martin. 

Froome was part of a mass-crash inside the final 10 kilometres of stage 1 that was caused by a touch of wheels at high speed after a spectator with a sign stepping onto the road at 45 kilometres to go caused a first pile-up.

He rode much of the stage near the back of the peloton as he tried to recover.

“Today it wasn’t physical, it was more the fight for position,” he explained.

“Once teams were in position, I think it was a stalemate and slowed the race down. But behind that front line, it’s carnage trying to find the front positions and stay safe.”

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