Froome, a four-time winner of the Tour, is continuing the long road to recovery after his career-threatening crash in the 2019 Critérium du Dauphiné, as he hopes to one day be able to compete for general classification.
The 36-year-old is currently racing the Dauphiné for his Israel Start-Up Nation squad in the hopes of racing the 2021 Tour, but his sports director said his selection is not guaranteed.
Froome told Cycling Pro Net at the start of stage five of the Dauphiné: “I’m not talking about winning the Tour de France in a few weeks, that’s for sure. I’m focussed on returning to my former level and taking one step at a time.
“I don’t go from this level to winning the Tour de France in a few weeks.”
Froome added: “I know where I’ve come from. A year ago I was on a bike, racing, before I could even walk properly. To be here in the Dauphiné walking properly, having no issues, being in the race is great progress already. I’m looking at those measurements. I know other people don’t see those measurements because they don’t see what happens behind the scenes.”
Froome suffered multiple serious injuries in 2019 when he crashed during the recon of the Dauphiné time trial, including fractured femur, elbow and ribs.
Since then he has transferred from Ineos Grenadiers to Israel Start-Up Nation, hoping to become a GC leader at the Tour for the Israeli WorldTour squad.
After returning to racing in 2020, also riding his first Grand Tour since his crash at the Vuelta a España, Froome has finished all four stage races he entered so far in 2021.
But Froome has not been able to compete for victory, his best GC result coming with his 47th-place finish at the UAE Tour in February.
In the Dauphiné, Froome hasn’t yet broken into the top-50 on a stage, finishing 93rd in the stage four time trial, now sitting 57th overall heading into stage five.
In the wake of his recent performances, Israel Start-Up Nation sports director Rik Verbrugghe said Froome is not guaranteed a spot in the Tour de France squad.
In an interview with French newspaper La Derniere Heure, Verbrugghe said: “He is a huge champion for whom I have a lot of respect, but his participation in the Tour de France is by no means self-evident.
“I expect there will be some clarity during this Dauphiné. He has made constant progress since the start of the season, but we would have liked his progress to be more exponential.”
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