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Chris Froome: People need to remember where I've come from

British Chris Froome of IsraelPremier Tech pictured at the start of the first stage of the Criterium du Dauphine cycling race 192 km between La VoultesurRhone and Beauchastel France Sunday 05 June 2022 BELGA PHOTO DAVID STOCKMAN Photo by DAVID STOCKMAN BELGA MAG Belga via AFP Photo by DAVID STOCKMANBELGA MAGAFP via Getty Images
Chris Froome at the Critérium du Dauphiné (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Chris Froome has called for patience and understanding as he continues to fight his way back from his career-threatening crash three years ago. 

The four-time Tour de France champion has shown encouraging signs of form recently and is currently racing at the Critérium du Dauphiné, where he suffered the horrific 2019 crash that left him with a broken femur among other injuries.

Froome, who left Ineos Grenadiers for Israel-Premier Tech in 2021, has faced a long rehabilitation process and struggled through the past couple of seasons as various physical issues cropped up.

However, there was seemingly a turning point at last week’s Classic Alpes-Maritimes, where he placed 11th in what was his best performance since the crash. 

"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 on Monday.

"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."

Froome, who will also race the Mont Ventoux Challenge next week, is hoping that he can prove himself worthy of a spot on Israel-Premier Tech’s Tour de France squad.

Meanwhile, any further uptick in performances will heighten speculation over whether he can indeed return to the level of old that saw him win seven Grand Tour titles. 

In a long and impassioned response to a question from ITV about his recent form, the 36-year-old said he’s not setting himself any limits but sought to play down any external expectations. 

"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.

"At this this race three years ago I almost lost my life. I couldn’t straighten my leg or put weight on my leg for the best part of four or five months. That was a huge rehabilitation. I broke my leg in two places. To come back from something like that isn’t guaranteed. It’s a step-by-step process.

"The first step is learning to walk again, then it was getting onto a bike and riding a bike again. Then it’s maybe trying to get back to being in a racing peloton. Now it’s trying to take that next step to become more competitive at this level and that’s where I’m at currently. 

"I’m not going to set myself a limit, and say ‘that’s my level, that’s where I’m, going to get to’. I’m just going to keep working as hard as I can, keep moving things in the right redirection. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have the support of my team. Israel-Premier Tech have been extremely patient with me, supportive of everything, so I’m very fortunate to be in this position."

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Deputy Editor - Europe. Patrick is an NCTJ-trained journalist who has seven years’ experience covering professional cycling. He has a modern languages degree from Durham University and has been able to put it to some use in what is a multi-lingual sport, with a particular focus on French and Spanish-speaking riders. After joining Cyclingnews as a staff writer on the back of work experience, Patrick became Features Editor in 2018 and oversaw significant growth in the site’s long-form and in-depth output. Since 2021 he has been Deputy Editor - Europe, taking more responsibility for the site’s content as a whole, while still writing and - despite a pandemic-induced hiatus - travelling to races around the world. Away from cycling, Patrick spends most of his time playing or watching other forms of sport - football, tennis, trail running, darts, to name a few, but he draws the line at rugby.