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Froome 'definitely one step closer' to form after best result in three years

OULENSSOUSECHALLENS SWITZERLAND APRIL 28 Christopher Froome of United Kingdom and Team Israel Premier Tech during the team presentation prior to the 75th Tour De Romandie 2022 Stage 2 a 1682km stage from challens to challens TDR2022 on April 28 2022 in OulenssousEchallens Switzerland Photo by Dario BelingheriGetty Images
Chris Froome delivered one of his best performances in years at the Classic Alpes-Maritimes (Image credit: Dario Belingheri/Getty Images)

On a day that saw his teammates Jakob Fuglsang and Michael Woods celebrate a one-two finish at the Mercan'Tour Classic Alpes-Maritimes, there was further reason for cheer at Israel-Premier Tech at the mountainous one-day race.

With an 11th place finish on Tuesday, Chris Froome scored his best result since the summer of 2019, a momentous step in the long recovery from his career-threatening crash at the Critérium du Dauphiné that same year.

Since the crash, two days after taking 11th on the second stage of the Dauphiné, Froome has fought for three years to get back to something approaching the strength and form that saw him win four editions of the Tour de France.

On the Col de Valberg, the 12km climb that rounded out the Classic Alpes-Maritimes, Froome came home just outside the top 10, 3:58 behind Fuglsang in his most encouraging result in three years.

"For me personally, I've seen a big progression these last couple of months," Froome told CyclingPro (opens in new tab) after the race. "I've just come off a training camp now. The legs are feeling good.

"Next up will be the Critérium du Dauphiné. For me at the moment I'm just taking it one week at a time, just trying to focus on building the feelings and momentum and for sure trying to get back to my old self again. I'm not there but I'm definitely one step closer."

37-year-old Froome is in the midst of his second season at Israel-Premier Tech, having joined the team after 11 hugely successful seasons at Team Sky.

In April he described a return to the Tour de France this summer as "a dream scenario", telling Cyclingnews and the assembled media at the Tour of the Alps that there were "a lot of steps" to take before starting in Copenhagen this July.

He added then that he didn't have any remaining issues or pain from his 2019 crash, noting that there was "little holding me back now", with the usual hurdles of focussed training and reducing weight the main tasks left to meet in order to get back to form.

"Super day for the team obviously with Jakob winning, Woodsy in second place," Froome said about Tuesday's race. "We couldn't have asked for much more today. We had a plan coming into the race to try and make it hard particularly on the three last climbs and I think the guys did an amazing job at that."

Froome was part of the select 14-rider group that had emerged following the climbs of La Colmiane (first-category) and the Col de la Couillole (hors-catégorie), with the Briton remaining part of the group until early on the final climb of the race.

After detaching from the lead group as the attacks flew up front, Froome came home among a slew of climbers, including Sebastien Reichenbach (Groupama-FDJ), Gregor Mühlberger (Movistar), and Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroën).

"It's really nice to see the team bouncing back," Froome concluded. "We had a difficult start to the season with a lot of sickness, but I think that the guys are in good health now and finally starting to put some good results on the scoreboard."

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Daniel Ostanek
Daniel Ostanek

Daniel Ostanek is production editor at Cyclingnews, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later being hired as staff writer. Prior to joining the team, he had written for most major publications in the cycling world, including CyclingWeekly, Rouleur, and CyclingTips.

 

Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France and the spring Classics, and has interviewed many of the sport's biggest stars, including Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Mark Cavendish, Demi Vollering, and Anna van der Breggen.

 

As well as original reporting, news and feature writing, and production work, Daniel also runs The Leadout newsletter and oversees How to Watch guides throughout the season. His favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Volta a Portugal, and he rides a Colnago C40.