Chris Froome says he's just missing race fitness, after a Volta a Catalunya he admits was tough, dropped on the very first stage, but his performance in the time trial showed him his power is back, and now just needs to put in the "hard miles".
"From the outside, I can imagine people are writing me off but that's fine," Froome said in a video posted to his YouTube channel. "I know where I've come from, I had to teach myself how to walk again, I just need to keep that in perspective how far I've come in the past year and continue to make progressions."
As for the stage race in Spain, Froome was dropped on the very first stage, finishing eight minutes back, ever the gentleman as he kept his smile on for the cameras as the motos hung around him going backwards.
"I have to admit the first stage didn't go as planned, I felt as if I was pedalling squares, to be honest," Froome said. "I definitely feel a lot more upbeat after the time trial...the feelings were just so much better, I felt I could actually open up, open the system and properly push on the pedals again. I saw my heart rate coming up, I'm a lot more optimistic after that ride.
"I'm just going to keep focusing on that process of improving, chipping away, I think this race in Catalunya will be part of that process. Do the hard yards, do the suffering, it's not fun in the meantime, it's tough getting kicked basically every time I'm trying to be up there. I've just got to have hope in the process, in the training, in the belief that all of this going to put me in the right direction for the big races later in the year."
After a quick trip to Germany following Catalunya, where his position on the bike and shoes were looked at after the multiple Tour de France champion suffered "burning sensations" in his feet after three hours of racing, Froome will head back to Tenerife before his next pre-Tour de France warm-up races: the Tour of the Alps and the Tour de Romandie.
"I definitely feel as if left leg, right leg...I'm definitely starting to get the power out now, I'm just missing race fitness. I've just got to put in the hard miles now, put in the work, get the weight down, and just keep building on that intensity now, it takes months to build up," Froome said.
"Year on year it's the same battle to get up to that race fitness again, obviously this time I'm coming from a much lower point but the biggest thing for me at the moment is having that symmetry left and right and that's just fantastic to see that's come on so far from last season."
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