Chris Froome has opened up about his doubts during rehab saying, “thinking about being a professional cyclist again seemed so far away.”
Quoted in The Times, Froome spoke about his recovery from his horror crash at the 2019 Critérium du Dauphiné where he suffered six different fractures after stage two of the UAE Tour as he continues preparation for the Tour de France.
Speaking after the Hatta Dam stage where Froome finished 111th, 3-46 behind winner Caleb Ewan, the seven-time Grand Tour winner explained his doubts about getting back into the peloton when he was teaching himself to walk again.
“Trying to walk was by far the hardest part of the rehab,” said Froome, who was left immobile for two months with broken ribs, hip, elbow, femur and fractured neck.
“It’s just something you don’t think about until you’re in that position. After the weeks of being bedridden and in a wheelchair afterwards, walking felt so foreign. Mentally, it was tough. Being barely able to walk.”
Froome has suffered more setbacks since the first surgery immediately after his crash last year. He had to have surgery to remove a metal plate from his hip, then surgery that was unrelated when he cut the tendons in his thumb with a kitchen knife. The 34-year-old then required more surgery after developing an infection in his hip in December 2019, which meant he had to leave the first Team Ineos training camp early.
He explained how he now has a big scar on his hip from where the plate was, two screws in his knee, two screws in his upper thigh and a rod through his femur. “There’s still a limp there but that will go with time,” Froome said. “It’s a lot better than it was a few weeks ago.”
After all this, he is back racing in a WorldTour peloton. While he isn’t challenging at all for a big result yet, Froome says he has had no trepidation about returning to the pro peloton, or its inherent dangers.
“There’s no fear” he said, “or fear of the speed thankfully.
“There were no issues getting stuck in. I spend a lot of time training with the team, or other riders, down in the south of France, so being on the wheels wasn’t any different.”