'I’m confident the rehab process is behind me now': Chris Froome says he's back to full fitness after nearly two years

The seven-time Grand Tour winner has been putting in the hard yards in California for several months now

(Image credit: PA)

Chris Froome says he is ready to return to competition again now that he is confident he doesn't need any more rehabilitation, following almost two years of hard work since his career-threatening crash in a warm up ride at the Critérium du Dauphiné 2019.

Froome (Israel Start-Up Nation) has been training hard at the Red Bull Athlete Performance Centre in Santa Monica, California, as well as out on the roads of the US state in a strict rehabilitation schedule.

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In a piece by Red Bull, Froome spoke about how he didn't want to retire because of the crash: "That wasn’t the way I wanted to end my career, on an accident, on a low like that.

"I want to be able to stop my career on my own terms and I still felt I had a lot more to give."

Having missed the mark in a difficult first year back from injury, Froome has moved on to a new challenge by leaving the supposed safety of his team of 11 years, Ineos Grenadiers, to join up-and-coming team Israel Start-Up Nation for the 2021 season.

After discovering he had a deficiency of about 20 per cent in the right quad, scans also revealed that screws that were put in during surgery were piercing through a bone, possibly grating his quad while on the bike.

It was Froome's now-former team-mate who stepped in to help, Froome revealed: "Cameron Wurf, an ex-team-mate of mine and good friend over at Ineos introduced me to Per [Lundstam, Director of Athlete Performance for Red Bull] over here in Santa Monica."

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This was when Froome was given his rehab schedule where he would be doing four sessions every week, until more recently when he changed to two sessions and more time out on the bike.

The four-time Tour de France winner says he is now around where he was before: "I can finally say that I’m confident the rehab process is behind me now.

"It’s always going to be a weakness I’m going to have to work on until the end of my career. But in terms of the figures I’m seeing on the bike, I’ve got to the same if not even better left-right balance than I was prior to the crash. That’s extremely encouraging."

Froome is hoping to level the all-time record for most Tour de France victories of five as he targets victory in this year's race.

His schedule to that goal looks very similar to when he was at Ineos. He is set to start his season at the UAE Tour having originally been scheduled to debut at the Vuelta a San Juan in Argentina, before it was cancelled due to Covid-19.

After the UAE Tour, Froome is due to race the Volta a Catalunya followed by the Critérium du Dauphiné as the last step before fighting for yellow. It is not yet known if any other races will be included in the lead-up.

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