Chris Froome (Sky) faces the unusual challenge of having to make up time on a Grand Tour rival after losing 37 seconds to Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) on the opening day of the 2018 Giro d’Italia, but says his crash on the streets of Jerusalem won’t hold him back.
Australian Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) leads the Giro after the first three stages in Israel. Froome’s top rival and 2017 Giro victor Dumoulin won that first-day time trial to establish an early lead over Sky’s leader.
The losses came after Froome crashed in training the morning before the time trial. He was left with road rash up his right side and finished uncharacteristically far back in 21st position.
“I haven’t thought back to the last time I was trying to make up time, but I’m not giving up!” Froome told Cycling Weekly.
“There are still two and half weeks of racing to go and the majority of the race – all the racing in the mountains – is still to come so a lot can happen.
“I’ve been in the other position in Grand Tours where many times I’ve been ahead and something happens in the stage and the shoe’s on the other foot all of a sudden. Definitely a lot of racing to come, a lot of good bike riders here, so it should be some good racing.”
The Giro transfers to its homeland on Monday morning and resumes racing in Sicily on Tuesday. The three stages on the island, especially with Mount Etna on Thursday, could give the four-time Tour de France champion an early opportunity to recover time.
In the 2017 Tour, Froome lost the lead to Fabio Aru (Astana) and only regained it when Aru faded on a short punchy finish. That was the only time in his Grand Tour title rides where a rival has taken a significant lead and Froome has had to fight back.
In 2015, on his way to his second Tour victory, Froome also shipped a small amount of time on an opening day time trial, but he was in yellow by the third stage.
In Italy, Froome climbed off his turbo trainer after his warm down from stage three. His white jersey showed the blood from Friday’s crash.
“It’s just road rash,” he said. “Thankfully it’s nothing serious. Each day it goes on, it feels better and better.”
He will have an early night because many of the cyclists are waking up around 4am to fly at around 6:30am from Eilat to Catania, in Sicily, on Monday morning.
“I guess it’s one of those where there are negatives and positives,” he said of a Grand Tour reaching out behind the European borders.
“It’s a lot of hard work for the team to pack everything up and bring all the equipment over. Logistically, it’s a bit of a nightmare, but it’s great for the sport in terms of promoting sport in a new territory. And that’s got to be a good thing in cycling.”
After signing a few autographs, Froome entered his hotel for a deserved dinner and rest.