Chris Froome has apparently suffered a setback in his return from injury, having left an Ineos training camp early with one of his sports directors saying he doesn't know if the four-time Tour de France champion will recover.
Reporting on what has been printed in Italian cycling magazine Bicisport this month, SpazioCiclismo (opens in new tab) say Froome left his team's Spanish training camp after two days with the 34-year-old's recovery being described as "slow".
Dario David Cioni, the sports director in question, said: "After two days of training in Spain, Froome, who aspires to the fifth yellow jersey, returns home. He is not well and who knows if he will recover."
Froome's recovery was thought to be going well, finding himself back riding on the road just 14 weeks after his horror crash at the Critérium du Dauphiné. He then returned to hospital for a further operation to remove metal work from his hip and elbow after taking part in the Saitama Criterium in Japan.
This revelation from within the Ineos camp that Froome's recovery is uncertain fuels rumours that Egan Bernal will skip the Giro d'Italia and focus solely on the Tour de France as his main season goal.
The British squad, who have backed up their large sponsorship budget with seven French Grand Tour wins in the last eight years, are thought to be turning to their defending Tour champion for a result in France despite the apparent wishes of the young Colombian to also ride the Giro d'Italia in May.
This in turn would leave Richard Carapaz or Geraint Thomas to lead Ineos at the Italian Grand Tour, with their new Ecuadorian rider poised to defend his Giro title.
In better news for Dave Brailsford's squad, it looks like the tug of war between his team and Movistar over Andrey Amador's services is nearing an end. The Costa Rican was spotted on a training ride on new year's eve wearing Ineos kit and riding a team-issue Pinarello.
The UCI are currently deliberating on whether Amador can disregard the pre-contract extension agreement with Movistar that he signed after the 2019 Tour to instead sign with Ineos for the 2020 season.
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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
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