Luke Rowe has backed Chris Froome to make a full comeback to racing after a horrific crash saw his Ineos team-mate placed in intensive care after losing four pints of blood and suffering multiple fractures.
The Brit came off his bike on a recon of the stage four time trial course at the Critérium du Dauphiné 2019, when a gust of wind blew him into a wall as he took his hand off his handlebars to blow his nose.
He will now miss the Tour de France 2019, Ineos boss Dave Brailsford has confirmed, where he was set to compete for a record-equalling fifth title. Instead, he apparently faces six months off the bike.
Luke Rowe, who is Ineos' road captain and has been a key domestique in the last three of Chris Froome's four Tour de France victories, has issued a public statement in support of Froome.
"Chris is in a similar situation to myself. People will write him off and say his career is over," Rowe said. "But I think he will prove them all wrong. He’s a pitbull. He will never back down. I know he’ll be back - I’ve no doubts about that."
Rowe was referencing an injury he suffered in August 2017, when he broke his leg in more than 20 places while whitewater rafting on his brother's stag do in Prague.
The Welshman returned to racing after just six months out, despite an initial prognosis of 12 months off the bike.
However, knowing how hard it is to have such an extended period out of racing, Rowe said it wouldn't be easy for Froome during his recovery.
"Of course he’s got a long way back and he will go through hell mentally and physically," Rowe said. "It’s hard in the early stages. But he’s a titan and he will come through this."
In better news for Froome, while he was in hospital news emerged that he may be awarded the 2011 Vuelta a España title after Juan José Cobo was caught doping.
This would make Froome the first ever British Grand Tour winner, and would take his total Grand Tour haul up to seven victories.
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