Chris Froome says he is “definitely one step closer” to his “old self” after posting his best result since his horror crash in 2019.
The four-time Tour de France champion was in the lead group approaching the final climb at the Mercan'Tour Classic Alpes-Maritimes, sparking hopes he could be about to write the biggest comeback story of the season.
He was soon dropped on the Col de Valberg but still came home in a credible 11th – his first top-20 finish since his career-threatening smash at the Criterium du Dauphine. Froome fractured his neck, femur, hip, elbow and ribs and was out of competitive action for eight months.
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“I’ve seen a big progression these past couple months,” Froome told Eurosport at the summit.
“I’ve just come off a training camp now, the legs are feeling good. Next up will be the Criterium du Dauphine, but for me at the moment I’m just taking it one week at a time.
“Just trying to focus on building the feelings, the momentum and trying to get back to my old self again. I’m not there but I’m definitely one step closer.”
It was a small highlight on a brilliant day for Israel Premier-Tech, with Jakob Fuglsang soloing to victory and Michael Woods making it a one-two.
“Super day for the team obviously with Jakob Fuglsang winning, Woodsy second place,” said Froome.
“We couldn’t have asked for much more today. We had a plan coming into the race to try and make it hard, particularly on the three last climbs and I think the guys did an amazing job at that.
“It’s really nice to see the team bouncing back, we had a difficult start to the season with a lot of sickness but I think the guys are in good health now and finally starting to put some results on the scoreboard.”
Froome will be hoping for a spot at the Tour de France, which begins in Denmark on July 1.
‘Starting to struggle’ – Froome dropped on final climb at Mercan'Tour Classic Alpes-Maritimes
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