Chris Froome says he feels like a neo-pro at his first race as he returns from injury

'It felt good to just have a number on, have the elbows out again'

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Chris Froome says he felt like a neo-pro at his first race as he returns to racing after an eight-month layoff.

The four-time Tour de France winner hadn’t raced since his horrific crash at the Critérium du Dauphiné last summer, but made his return on stage one of the UAE Tour on Sunday (February 23).

Froome finished in the peloton on the opening sprint stage, but says he still has a long way to go.

After finishing 115th in Dubai, the 34-year-old said: “There’s still a way to go until I’m back where I left off, but the first feelings are really good. It felt good to just have a number on, have the elbows out again and be fighting for position in the bunch. It feels good to be a bike racer again.”

Froome crashed at high speed during a recon of the time trial stage of the Dauphiné last June and was left in a critical condition with multiple injuries, including a badly broken femur.

After undergoing multiple injuries, Froome returned to training last August and began the long road to recovery, riding a full training camp with Team Ineos in Majorca in January.

On his racing return, he added: “[This morning] I felt really excited. It was like being a neo-pro again at my first race.

“It’s only eight months out but it feels like its longer. I know what condition I’m in and I’m not in winning condition.

“I should be in good enough condition to get through the race and do what I can for the team. I can’t set my expectations too high but just being here is a big goal for me.”

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The UAE Tour is the first step in Froome’s return to racing as he has set himself the goal of starting the Tour de France later this year, in the hoping of winning a record-equalling fifth yellow jersey.

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.