EXCLUSIVE: Chris Froome discusses missing the Tour, future hopes and Vingegaard

EXCLUSIVE: Chris Froome discusses missing the Tour, future hopes and Vingegaard
Froome is in the Czech Republic for the Czech Tour
Froome is in the Czech Republic for the Czech Tour
Czech Tour, Markéta Navrátilová
With seven Grand Tours to his name, including four Tour de France triumphs, Chris Froome (38) is one of the greatest cyclists of all time. Being hindered by injuries, he's only been able to watch as the next generation has taken his place at the top of the sport, but he's not done yet.

Precious few have dominated cycling as much as he did from 2013 to 2017, with Froome winning the Tour de France four out of five times in that period, along with the Giro and the Vuelta once each.

However, that dominance was brought to an end by a serious crash in the summer of 2019, one that he's been working to fully recover from ever since. 

In the Czech Republic, where he's riding the Czech Tour, he discussed that recovery in an exclusive interview with Flashscoresaying that while things haven't gone perfectly, he has a lot of belief having finished inside the top three of a Tour de France stage for the first time since 2018 last year.

Exclusive interview with cyclist Chris Froome

"I think that last year was definitely a really big step for me, getting to the Tour de France and finishing third on, probably the queen (most difficult) stage of the race, finishing Alpe de Huez," he said.

"So that was a big boost for my confidence, basically to show me that I was on the right track to be coming back to a good level of racing.

"Unfortunately, in the buildup to the Tour de France this year, I didn't have the same progression. Nevertheless, I'm happy to still be here racing, happy to be doing what I enjoy doing, which is racing my bike and everything that comes with it."

He suffered a setback in his journey back to the top this year when he was left out of the Tour de France lineup by his team, Israel Premier-Tech, and he admits that was hard to take for him.

"It was only in the week before that I found out," said Froome.

"Yeah, that was tough. That was tough. I felt as if I was ready, I felt that I'd worked hard. So yeah, that was a big disappointment for me.

"But that's life. That's sport. And I think as an athlete you just have to get on with it and refocus on something else and continue working in the right direction."

Instead, he had to watch from home as Jonas Vingegaard (26) won the Tour for the second year in a row, producing some stunning rides to defeat fellow two-time winner Tadej Pogacar (24). 

Looking at how well the Dane rode, Froome could see him matching his own tally of four titles in the years to come.

"I mean, If he carries on the way he did this year I don't see anything stopping him," he said. 

"I mean, this year, he didn't put a foot wrong throughout the race, so it was an extremely impressive ride by him.

"I think what was most impressive - I mean, what he did in the mountains was amazing, but I think what he did in the time trial was just spectacular.

"To be beating pure time trialists, guys, who are really strong in time trials, guys like (Wout) Van Aert by minutes... that was quite a performance."

While Vingegaard and Pogacar are widely expected to dominate the sport going forward, Froome has not yet given up on his dream of becoming a five-time champion himself. 

"It's still there for me, right at the back of my mind somewhere," he said.

"I mean, realistically, I know it's going to be extremely hard to achieve with the younger guys of today's generation, but yeah, the dream is always there for me.

"Until I retire, that's what's going to be there burning the fire for me."


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