Chris Froome celebrated the win of his teammate Jakob Fuglsang who charged mercilessly through the climb against Michael Woods along with David Gaudu. Woods came in second beating Gaudu in the line but this was not the only reason to celebrate. There were cheers at the one-day race because Chris Froome delivered his best performance at the mountainous Israel-Premier tech in the last 3 years.
Since the summer of 2019, the four-time winner of the Tour de France didn’t come in the top 20 finishers. He had career-threatening injuries when he crashed out in the race of Criterium du Dauphine. He finished 11th at the Classic Alpes Maritime which is significant for his long recovery ever since the crash.
It’s a super day for the team.
Ever since the crash, Froome has worked tooth and nail to achieve the form he once had when he won the Tour de France four times. On the 12km climb of Col de Valberg, Froome came close to the top 10(3:58) following Fuglsang in what has been one of his most uplifting results in three years.
Reflecting upon his progression over the past months, Froome said:
For me personally, I’ve seen a big progression these last couple of months. 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.
The 37-year-old racer is in the middle of what is his second season at the Israel-Premier tech. He said that returning to the Tour de France feels like “a dream scenario” and that he had to take “a lot of steps” before starting the Copenhagen in July.
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He also added that he feels he has recovered from the injury as he doesn’t have any issues or pain from the crash. The road to recovery has been long but he feels that the only hurdles that are left now are the usual related to training such as weight loss and focus. He said that there is “little holding me back now” from getting back in form.
When his teammates won the event, he had happiness in his eyes and he expressed it in a beautiful manner:
Super day for the team obviously with Jakob winning, Woodsy in second place. 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.
Is Chris Froome finally back, has he finally reclaimed the warrior’s spirit? We won’t have to wait long to find out!
Featured Image Via YouTube/Cycling Pro Net