Chris Froome admitted that he does not deserve a spot in the Great Britain Olympic Team this summer.
The Kenyan-born veteran finished 93rd in the general classification of this week’s Tour of the Alps but had an impressive showing in some of the breaks, suggesting that he will get rewards from continuing his rehabilitation.
He is now the best part of two years into his recovery from a serious crash in the 2019 Criterium du Dauphine that required surgery, and almost ended his career. He left Ineos Grenadiers and signed a five-year deal with Israel Start-Up Nation to become one of the most experienced heads in the squad, with the aim of challenging for another Grand Tour.
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He is now preparing to take part in the Tour of Romandie before another training camp in Tenerife, which forms his training schedule for the Tour de France. He hopes that a good showing there will put him back in contention for a spot in Tokyo.
The 35-year-old seven-time Grand Tour winner is competing for one of four places, and faces competition from younger riders such as Hugh Carthy, and Simon and Adam Yates.
Speaking to Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport [via Cycling News], he said: “I think everything depends on getting back to that former level.
“In this condition, I can quite happily say that I wouldn’t deserve a spot [in Tokyo] but obviously I’m still hopeful that my condition improves before the Tour de France and therefore before the Olympics.”
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Froome has a deal with his new team that runs until 2025, and he hopes to be part of a long-term strategy to create a new force in cycling.
“I think this was the foundation of the discussion when it came to joining Israel Start-Up Nation,” he explained.
“It was a commitment to the end of my career and potentially even beyond that, to work on building a Grand Tour programme and the foundations of a team that can compete for victory at the Tour de France.
"Personally, I love the sport, I’d love to stay involved in the sport after my racing career. This would be an option for me, to continue with ISN. Obviously, when we get closer to that time, we’ll discuss it further but my focus is now on trying to get back to my former level and working hard to get to that point.”
"I love doing what I’m doing. I love it even more when I’m in front and how it was in the years before my crash. Of course, I take a lot of joy from the victories but I still have a lot of passion, I still enjoy racing even though I’m finishing on the other side of the peloton at the moment. So no, it wouldn’t change my appetite to continue,” he said.
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"I’m still training just as hard, I’m putting in the hours. I’m not seeing the same numbers in training as I did previously, but I’ve just got to trust in the process. I’ve got to trust that working hard will bear results eventually. Obviously, I had the big accident a couple of years ago and I still haven’t come back to my former level since then."
"And then we had the Covid time away from racing straight on the back of this period of trying to come back into professional cycling so for me it was over a year away from the highest level of racing and I think that time away from high-level racing compounded the effects of my injury.
"So it’s been a longer journey than I expected but I’m certainly hopeful that if I keep following the process, keep working hard, keep doing the altitude training camps, and putting in all the work that’s required, eventually things are going to click for me and I’m going to wake up feeling more like my old self again."
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