Chris Froome: 'Giro d'Italia win is still the goal, but I wouldn't say it's likely'

Froome says he has a huge challenge ahead of him to be wearing pink in Rome at the end of the 2018 Giro

Chris Froome after stage seven of the Giro d'Italia
(Image credit: Yuzuru Sunada)

Team Sky's Chris Froome recognises that it is unlikely to recover from his 2-27-minute deficit in the Giro d'Italia over the next two weeks for a pink jersey win in Rome.

Froome lost time on the key stages, on stage nine slipping behind another 1-07 minutes from stage winner and overall leader Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott).

>>> ‘It was brutal’: Chris Froome vows to ‘keep fighting’ after losing more time at Giro d’Italia

"It is a big gap," Froome said of the 2-27 gap. "It is a big gap, but we've got some extremely tough racing coming, we have a long time trial as well.

"It wasn't too long ago that I recall someone winning the Giro d'Italia from more than a three-minute deficit. I wouldn't say it's likely at this point, but stranger things have happened."

Chris Froome crosses the line on stage nine of the Giro d'Italia (Sunada)
(Image credit: Yuzuru Sunada)

Vincenzo Nibali overturned a 4-43 gap to a pink jersey win over the final week of the 2016 Giro d'Italia. Froome, winner of four editions of the Tour de France and last year's Vuelta a España, has the skills to do so, as well.

Asked for clarification, Froome gave himself more of a chance. He responded, "I wouldn't say unlikely, but it's certainly put me in a very challenging position."

Froome's position, 11th overall, is a result of two crashes. He fell while previewing the opening time trial and again in the wet stage eight finish to Montevergine di Mercogliano.

On Sunday, he looked weakened and fell behind at two kilometres to climb to the Gran Sasso finish line. On the race's first proper rest day in Pescara, Froome spoke to the press before heading out on a brief ride under dark clouds that later let loose a shower.

"When you crash, the body is going to take a bit of impact. I've been feeling that I'm not pedalling the same that I normally do. And that's something that I hope today's rest day will help compensate for that a little bit," Froome continued.

"Hopefully I'll start feeling myself a bit more in the second part of the race."

He had an MRI scan after the Jerusalem crash that he said revealed no problems.

"I've been seeing the team osteo every evening now. We went to have scans done on the right-hand side. It has been quite consuming. Crashing is not just a matter of getting back up and carrying on again, as simple as it seems. There's a lot that goes on. Changing all the dressings every day, sleep is affected as well. It takes a lot out of you crashing.

"Certainly the numbers in training for the last couple of weeks before the Giro were a lot better than anything I've seen in the Giro so far, so logically, I'd say the crash has had a big impact on me. I obviously hope to recover from that."

Froome has "zero thoughts" of quitting the Giro d'Italia, however. The race continues its second of three weeks on Tuesday and faces the famous Monte Zoncolan on Saturday.

"It's been a tough start for me. Every day since the crash in Jerusalem I've been on the back foot. Everyone could see that. It's not a position I'm used to," Froome added.

"It's early days in the race and we are not even halfway through. I'm still motivated, the body has taken a bit of a beating.

"The Zoncolan won't the be the only stage, we saw that there are stages that will make the difference, between the time trial and that stage there we will see in what direction this race is going."

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Gregor Brown

Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.