Chris Froome has admitted he will need 'a good few months' to get back to his best form but has set the 2020 Tour de France and a possible fifth Tour de France win as a goal and is using a possible record equaling fifth victory as the 'driving force' for his recovery. He made it clear he will not have the form to compete at the Giro d'Italia in May.
Froome crashed hard in June during a reconnaissance ride of the time trial stage at the Criterium du Dauphiné. He hit a wall at 60km/h and suffered an open fracture to his femur and other fractures in his sternum and neck. He only recently underwent surgery to remove the significant metal plates and screws that had hampered his return to full training.
Froome able to ride his bike in late summer and competed in the short team time trial race at the Saitama Tour de France criterium with several Team Ineos teammates in late October but he walked with a pronounced limp until the surgery to remove the metalwork. He has now been cleared to start full training and hopes to make his return to racing in February.
"It’s been a tough old six months but I think I’m pretty lucky all things considered that it wasn’t worse or more serious," Froome said, speaking to Team Ineos teammates Geraint Thomas and Luke Rowe for the latest edition of their Watts Occurring podcast.
“I got back on the bike yesterday officially for the first time since my second operation to remove some of the metalwork, so hopefully there’s no going back now and hopefully everything I do now will be towards the Tour next year. We'll see how it all goes step by step.
"I definitely won’t be ready to take on the Giro 100 per cent so I think logically the Tour makes a lot of sense and obviously for my own ambitions, trying to get number five, the record is a big goal."
"It’s also quite daunting having that as a goal. Getting back on the bike for the first time was amazing, it was really cool to be out on the road again but it also highlighted to me just how far away from Tour de France winning shape I am. I’ve lost six months and it’s going to take me a good few months to get back there. That’s the driving force for me, that’s the light at the end of the tunnel, to get to the Tour in my best shape again."
Rowe and Tomas joked that Froome looked just as bad as he always did on the bike, praising him on avoiding any changes to his physique after his injuries. Froome is known for his arched back and the way he often looks down rather than at the road ahead.
"My head is still down, that didn't get fixed in the crash," Froome joked.
"I've been working really hard to keep the form and the way I ride, not getting into any bad habits.
"The first thing is just getting back on the bike and then trying to work on some of the weaknesses. That right leg now hasn’t been working properly for six months, so it’s quite weak and needs a lot of work."