Chris Froome has said his only focus for this year is the Tour de France, where he hopes to win a record-equalling fifth yellow jersey.
Speaking at an Ineos training camp in Gran Canaria, Froome said: “The only appointment I’ve set myself is the Tour de France and until then every week I’m just going to keep chipping away…every race building up to July…and hope that come that start line in Nice in July I’ll be ready to go.”
The four-time winner is continuing to recover from his crash at last year’s Critérium du Dauphiné and says he is now able to train normally on the road with his team-mates.
“I’ve been given all the green lights now to get back on the bike and just make that transition now from the rehab phase back into normal training again so I’m really feeling the fitness at the moment. But you’ve got to start somewhere and I’m just feeling incredibly fortunate to be back on the bike again and for everything to be working correctly.”
While Froome dismissed recent reports from an Ineos sports director that said his recovery wasn’t going well, the 34-year-old is keeping a level head and knows he may never reach the level that saw him win seven Grand Tours since 2011.
“The prospect of going for a fifth yellow jersey is massive for me, it’s such a motivation. But on top of that now coming back from this injury, it’s even more reason for me to try and get back,” Froome said. “There are no guarantees in sport, no guarantees that I’ll be back to challenge for it but I’m going to give it absolutely everything I’ve got.
“I’m fully conscious that these next few months are going to be pretty tough, it’s going to be a lot of hard work and I’ve got a lot of ground to make up to get back to where I was.
“This has certainly been one of the toughest tests for me throughout my career and it’s been mentally difficult,” he added.
If Froome does make it to the starting line in Nice in July, he is likely to face some of the toughest competition for the yellow jersey that he has ever faced.
Team-mate and Tour de France defending champion Egan Bernal has said the Tour de France will be his biggest goal of the year. In an earlier video Ineos boss Dave Brailsford said that Bernal and Geraint Thomas will have leadership duties at the Tour de France.
Meanwhile, new Ineos signing Richard Carapaz will be given the opportunity to defend his Giro d’Italia title, and will lead the line for the British squad in Italy alongside another new name on the roster, Australian Rohan Dennis.