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Chris Froome is ready to make a racing return in Italy next week after a knee injury delayed his season start, his Israel-Premier Tech team confirmed on Saturday.
The four-time Tour de France winner will make his 2022 debut at the five-stage Coppi e Bartali race on Tuesday March 22, having worked his way back up fitness at team training camps in the early part of the year.
Froome last raced at the Italian Classics in the autumn last year, although failed to finish all three in which he competed including the year's final Monument, Il Lombardia.
In January he confirmed he had suffered a setback due to a tendon injury on his right knee, which he described as a "setback".
Froome explained: “It wasn’t an ideal start to the year, to be dealing with an injury, but I’ve worked hard to get my fitness back on track. Fortunately, it was only a minor setback. I’m looking forward to taking on the 2022 season with my first race being Coppi e Bartali. It’s always a great experience to race in Italy and I can’t wait to get out there with my team-mates.”
The 36-year-old has struggled to show signs of his previous prowess following a horrific crash at the 2019 Critérium du Dauphiné, which left him with numerous severe injuries.
He rode his final Grand Tour for Team Ineos (previously Sky) at the Vuelta in 2020 before moving to Israel Start-Up Nation for 2021, with whom he made a return to the Tour, which he completed.
Froome's team said his further 2022 race programme would be decided in the following weeks after his return at Coppi e Bartali.
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