‘I just tried to hang on’ - Chris Froome on finishing within two minutes of winner on UAE Tour mountain finish 

The four-time Tour de France winner stuck with the favourites on stage five, as he tries to find his old climbing powers 

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Chris Froome said he “just tried to hang on” as he finished within two minutes of the leaders on the UAE Tour’s second summit finish.

Froome, making his debut in Israel Start-Up Nation colours in the Middle East, is still returning to form as he continues his recovery from his serious injuries suffered in 2019. 

While Froome struggled on the first mountain finish of the UAE Tour, finishing five minutes down on stage winner Tadej Pogačar at the summit of Jebel Hafeet on stage three, the four-time Tour de France winner only improved on the slopes of Jebel Jais two stages later.

Speaking after the finish, the 35-year-old said: “In the final there I just tried to hang on in the bunch for as long as possible, use it as preparation for upcoming races and test myself a little bit as well as positioning Ben Hermans for the final. 

“For me personally I'm feeling better and better as the race goes on. I think I definitely need more of these kind of race stages, but step-by-step things are things are hopefully coming together for me.”

Froome finished stage five in 42nd place but was just 1-42 down on the stage winner, finishing alongside UAE Team Emirates climber Davide Formolo and Jumbo-Visma’s Koen Bouwman. 

Grand Tour star Froome spent his winter training in California, USA, working with the Red Bull Performance Centre experts to try and address the power disparity between his legs, having broken his right femur during the 2019 Critérium du Dauphiné. 

While Froome was able to rejoin the peloton in 2020, he struggled to compete in stage races. 

But having now left Ineos Grenadiers for ISN, Froome is hoping to fight for a fifth yellow jersey in the Tour de France later this year.  

Froome was never in contention for the overall in the UAE Tour, having lost eight minutes in the hectic crosswind racing of stage one.

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He sits 40th-place overall, 16 minutes down on the leader Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates).