News: Froome after 5th Tour Win

Chris Froome wants to prove that he is not too old to be able to compete for the final victory in a big Tour – “Just look at Valverde,” says the four time Tour winner.

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News: Froome after 5th Tour Win

Unsurprisingly, despite his accident, Chris Froome still wants to add that fifth Tour de France victory to his palmares. 

Chris Froome wants to prove that he is not too old to be able to compete for the final victory in a big Tour – “Just look at Valverde,” says the four time Tour winner. “After my bad crash, stopping was the easiest option, but that was not the way I wanted to stop. Especially since I now have four Tour victories, and I feel like I’m not finished yet.”

“So I would like to take my fifth overall victory and continue to compete in the Grand Tours until I feel that I am ready to stop. The moment I heard that I could fully return after my injury, it was an easy decision for me, ”said Froome.

Success for Froome in 2021 would be recapturing his pre-crash form and, if he can, this year’s Tour route and its 58 kilometres of individual time trials looks like one that would suit him to a tee. “This year I think (the route) is fantastic,” he said. “It’s got a good balance between pretty exciting big mountain-top finishes and the two time trials. So on paper, it looks like a great race and a race I’m looking forward to getting my teeth stuck into.”

“To get to a record-equalling fifth Tour de France would just be incredible and especially on the back of the whole comeback story – that does give me extra motivation.”

The former leader of Team Sky and INEOS Grenadiers does not think he is too old to win the Tour again. He still feels young and sees the sport developing around him. “Just look at Alejandro Valverde. He is in his forties and still rides in the Grand Tours. He takes part from the front and competes against the best in the world. That’s why I think it’s definitely possible for me. And I would like to prove that ”, says Froome.

In the Tour, he will share the lead with Daniel Martin and Michael Woods and compete against teams such as INEOS Grenadiers, Jumbo-Visma and UAE Emirates. “There are some extremely strong teams,” he laughs. “They have dominated the peloton in recent years. And then we had Tadej Pogačar. His team did not race dominantly, but he did win. That was a fantastic achievement. It also gives hope to the smaller teams that such a scenario can also come true.”

“Ultimately it comes down to the strength of the leader”.

Froome is still in California, where he is in rehab and preparing for the season. “The most important thing is to physically return to my old level. It is very important to fully recover, which was not the case last year. That was probably the biggest revelation,” Froome said. “Figuring out that the rehab process wasn’t actually 100 per cent completed, and that I still had work to do. As good as it was to be back racing the Vuelta, I wasn’t at the level that I would expect of myself. I was there doing a job for the team but I did feel limited as to my physical capability.”

After the race Froome had two screws that had been causing pain removed from his right leg before isokinetic testing revealed a 20 per cent deficit in quad strength on that side of his body. Correcting that has been Froome’s goal during a winter spent at the Red Bull High Performance Center in Santa Monica, where he has undergone gruelling gym sessions in between rides under the California sun.

“I am now close to where I want to be to start the season ”, said the 35-year-old. Staying in the United States meant Froome is missing Israel Start-Up Nation’s pre-season training camp in Girona this week, a key chance to get to know his new team-mates, but the pros outweighed the cons. “The more pressing issue for me personally was really to address the weaknesses I had going into the season,” he said. “I think these next few weeks should be the finishing touches to the rehab process.”

Froome does not want to say anything about his program, because of the uncertainty. “What I can say is that it is a program that builds up to the Tour de France. That is really my main goal for next year. Whether it is realistic that I will win the Tour for the fifth time? My biggest goal is still to get back to one hundred percent of my former level. Everything depends on that. Last year I thought I was close to that, but then I was racing and I felt that there was still a lot to do.”

So Froome still aspires to a career on the bike, but as far as he is concerned, he will also stay with Israel Start-Up Nation afterwards. “I see it as a long-term project. I will stay with this team until the end of my career and probably after that. I am really looking forward to that, but first I will have to improve and then I hope to win something again. ”


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