Chris Froome has revealed he needs another operation as he continues his recovery from an awful crash earlier this year.
Froome has been working his way back to full health after suffering multiple fractures, including a broken femur, at the Critérium du Dauphiné in June.
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The Team Ineos leader is back on the bike, having ridden the team time trial at the Saitama Criterium, but has revealed he will need an operation to remove metal work in his joints.
Speaking from Japan, Froome told Eurosport: “I’m in an extremely fortunate position that I am even back on a bike again at this stage.
“I had some pretty horrific injuries and I’ve still got to have another surgery. I’ve got to remove the metalwork in my hip and elbow.”
The four-time Tour de France winner used his trip to Japan to recce the Tokyo 2020 Olympic road race route, alongside his team-mate Michał Kwiatkowski and rivals Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) and Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale).
But Froome is not yet back to race fitness, as he was forced to skip the main Saitama Criterium event.
He said: “At the moment I’m capable of getting on the bike and riding, but not racing within the pack.
“If I have to follow the changes in rhythm or kick after bends, I just won’t be able to keep the pace.
“I still need to build up my strength to reach that level.”
The 34-year-old fell and hit a wall at high speed during a recon of the time trial stage of the Dauphiné in June.
At the end of August, he was able to get back on the bike on the track having been riding his indoor trainer within six weeks of the crash.