Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 30 March 2020

Four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome to make big return to action at UAE Tour

English rider has been out of action since horrific high-speed crash during the Criterium du Dauphin last June

Chris Froome has won the Tour de France four times, Vuelta a Espana twice and GIro d'Italia once. PA
Chris Froome has won the Tour de France four times, Vuelta a Espana twice and GIro d'Italia once. PA

Four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome will return to competitive racing at the UAE Tour next month, eight months after suffering devastating injuries in a crash.

Froome, 34, has been out of action since he fractured a thigh, elbow and vertebrae in a high-speed pre-race crash ahead of the Criterium du Dauphine in France.

But he is back to training and hopes to recover his full fitness in time for the Tour de France this year, kicking off his schedule in the UAE on February 23.

“I’m really excited about getting back to racing at the UAE Tour," the Team Ineos rider said. “I’ve come off a good block of training in Gran Canaria and look forward to taking the next step in my recovery and getting back to full strength.”

Froome's return will cap a remarkable return from what were potentially life-threatening injuries he suffered last June.

He was airlifted to hospital in Saint Etienne for emergency surgery after slamming into a wall during practice ahead of Stage 4 of the race in central France.

The force of the impact fractured his pelvis, right femur, and left him with broken ribs and a broken right elbow.

After the operation, surgeon Remi Philippot said the crash had caused no neurological or head trauma and that he expected Froome would be back in the saddle in six months, which turned out to be an accurate prediction.

"Chris Froome has the morale of a winner and is very rapidly bouncing back," said Philippot. "He started asking immediately when he could get back on his bike."

Last month, Froome said he had completed the rehab phase of his recovery and began regular training with his sights firmly fixed on July's famous race.

"The only appointment I’ve set myself is Tour de France, and until then every week I’m just going to keep chipping away, keep trying to make the most of every camp, every race, building up to July and hope that come that start line in Nice in July, I’ll be ready to go," he said.

"I’ve been given all the green lights now to get back on the bike, and I’m just making that transition now from the rehab phase back into normal training again,

"So I’m really feeling the fitness at the moment, but you’ve got to start somewhere, and I’m just incredibly fortunate to be back on the bike again and for everything to be working correctly.

"I’m fully conscious that these next few months are going to be pretty tough. There’s going to be a lot of hard work, and I’ve got a lot of ground to make up and to get back to where I was.

"But I’ve had amazing support to this point, which has got me here, and now I can just really get stuck into the training and really get the miles in on the bike to try and build up that strength again."

The route for this year's UAE Tour was officially unveiled this week, where the seven stages will cover all seven Emirates with the start of the race in Dubai on February 23 and the conclusion in Abu Dhabi on February 28.

Alejandro Valverde, last year’s UAE Tour runner-up and the 2018 UCI Road World Champion, has already confirmed he will be attempting to go one better this year.

Rohan Dennis, the two-time UCI Time Trial World Champion, and Giulio Ciccone, the 2019 Giro d’Italia Maglia Azzurra (King of the Mountain) will also be in action. As will UAE Team Emirates' young Slovenian star Tadej Pogacar, winner of the 2019 Tour of California and third overall at the 2019 Vuelta a Espana.

Updated: January 22, 2020 04:18 PM

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