Chris Froome says he won’t be back to 100 per cent fitness by the Giro d’Italia, but that he is fully focused on his Tour de France comeback.
The seven-time Grand Tour winner has been out of racing since a horrific crash during the Critérium du Dauphiné in June that left him with a broken right leg and other injuries.
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Team Ineos rider Froome his now looking to his return next season, having undergone an operation to remove metalwork in his leg and elbow.
Speaking on Watts Occuring, the podcast hosted by his Welsh team-mates Luke Rowe and Geraint Thomas, Froome said: “It’s been a tough old six months but I think I’m pretty lucky all things considered that it wasn’t worse.
“I got back on the bike yesterday officially for the first time since my second operation to remove some of the metalwork, so hopefully there’s no going back now and hopefully everything I do will be towards the Tour next year.”
Froome crashed during a recon of the time trial stage at the Dauphiné, hitting a wall at 60km/h and suffering a complex open fracture to his femur and breaking bones in his sternum and neck.
The crash took the 34-year-old out for the rest of the season as he underwent rehab and slowly got back on the bike.
Froome said: “The first thing is just getting back on the bike and then trying to work on some of the weaknesses. That right leg now hasn’t been working properly for six months, so it’s quite weak and needs a lot of work.”
After starting with track session, Froome then returned to riding on the road before he took part on the team time trial at the Saitama Criterium in October.
Last month, Froome was back in hospital to have metalwork removed but has been back out on the bike already.
Froome said he hasn’t found it too difficult to keep his weight down while not riding, as his appetite isn’t as strong because he hasn’t been training for hours on the bike each day.
He said: “I definitely won’t be ready to take on the Giro 100 per cent so I think logically the Tour makes a lot of sense and obviously for my own ambitions, trying to get number five, the record is a big goal.
“That’s the driving force for me, that’s the light at the end of the tunnel to get to the Tour in my best shape again. That’s definitely helped through the tough times.
“It’s also been quite daunting having that as a goal. Getting back on the bike for the first time was amazing, it was really cool to be out on the road again but it also highlighted how far away from Tour de France winning shape I am. I’ve lost six months and it’s going to take me a good few months to get back there.”