Chris Froome 'heading in the right direction' despite dark bruising on hip and chest

The four-time champion says he can never remember seeing so many injured riders in the peloton

Chris Froome
(Image credit: Getty)

After the crazy start to the 2021 Tour de France, with crashes aplenty, four-time champion Chris Froome said it was just nice to ride at his own pace for the day, make the time cut, and continue healing up after battling on with dark bruising to his hip and chest from a fall on the first day.

"I'm feeling better and better, I've got a lot of dark bruising on my upper leg and on my chest but I don't think I'm the only one in the peloton with aches and pains," Froome said after finishing his time trial effort on stage five. "Just looking around the peloton I can never remember seeing so many injured riders. It's pretty scary, actually."

Froome is hoping to "come around a bit more" before the mountains in the coming days and rode an effort that just opened up the legs a bit.

"I mean, I know I'm nowhere near the pace on today's course. It was just about getting through today, staying ahead of the time cut. Especially after the last few stressful days. It's nice to kind of ride your own pace for a day," he said. "It wasn't an all-out effort, but I probably gave that 85 per cent."

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Yesterday, Froome watched another British rider in Mark Cavendish climb back up to the top of the sport, something the Israel Start-Up Nation rider hopes he is currently on the journey towards. He says the emotional reaction from Cavendish begets the amount of pressure put on top-level riders.

"I mean the pressure that's put on the guys especially at this level, it's to be expected that there's a lot of emotion, it was just amazing to see Cav do that," the 36-year-old said. "I mean, everyone had written him off. Pretty amazing to see him do that and prove people wrong."

As for the safety debate that has raged throughout the opening days of the Tour, Froome argues more needs to be in terms of signing off courses before they're allowed to go ahead, and identifying pinch points is a priority.

"I think a lot more needs to be done in terms of approval and sign-off of courses before they're submitted and allowed to go ahead. I think there's a lot of work there to be done," Froome said. "Because there are some things that are just obvious to a lot of teams and riders in terms of the route and knowing where the pinch points are and you can see an accident coming and that's why everyone pushes to get to the front before that point, but pushing to the front causes accidents anyway. I mean, it's a difficult one. 

"But I think with a more typical sprint stage, like we had yesterday, you see the number of crashes - there weren't any crashes in the run-in yesterday. Compared to the day before where everyone knew it was going to be really tight, really technical, really dangerous.

"Taking time to really identify those pinch points on the course and finding alternatives that are safer is the way forward."

Regardless, Froome is still enjoying being back at the race he has previously dominated.

"Even though it's been really technical and dangerous racing, I'm loving being back at the Tour de France, it feels great. I've missed the last two years and it feels amazing to be back here again."

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