Olympic and Tour de France Dreams Driving Froome Recovery

Saitama, Japan, Oct 26 (AFP/APP): Still limping heavily, Chris Froome is fighting back from less than zero, he told AFP on Saturday, in what he describes as an unprecedented bid to win another Tour de France in 2020.

Froome, the winner of four Tour de France titles, fractured a thigh, elbow and vertebrae in a high speed crash in June. On Sunday he plans to make a statement of intent. On Sunday Froome will race in an exhibition-style team time-trial for Ineos at Saitama, Japan.

That race is a curtain-raiser for the marquee event, a criterium, too demanding and risky for the recuperating Froome. On Friday, he also rode part of July’s Tokyo Games road race route. “The accident has certainly changed me, given me a new start,” said a determined looking Froome.

“It’s like starting from zero again, below zero if you like, that’s what it feels like,” he said, his voice wavering slightly. “But it’s completely changed my motivation, given me a challenge I’ve never had before. This could be perceived as an incredibly difficult and negative situation, but I’ve tried to turn that around to try and achieve something unprecedented.”

Froome will be 35 years old when the Tour embarks from Nice next June. With three other Grand Tour winners on the Ineos roster, he knows the size of the challenge ahead, not least building up the strength in his injured leg.

“I’ve got to get the legs back to 50-50 (instead of 65-35 strength balance),” says the Africa-born Briton, clearly dragging his right leg as he walks.

“I’ve still got more surgery (in December) to remove a big metal plate and about six screws. It’s quite tender, the muscle and soft tissue that’s being impacted by this metal plate on my hip,” he says.

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