Chris Froome: Four-time Tour de France winner ready to make return and put devastating crash behind him

Chris Froome believes he is ready to put his rehabilitation behind him as he makes his return to the Tour de France this weekend.

The four-time Tour winner will make the start after a three-year absence caused by the devastating crash he suffered at the Criterium du Dauphine in June 2019, when a catalogue of broken bones threatened to end his career.

After a tortuous process over the last two years, simply rolling out of Brest on Saturday morning will be a significant moment for Froome on the long road back.

  • Froome: Retirement talk motivates me to carry on
  • Cavendish to make Tour de France return

“Hopefully it’s a stepping stone to getting back to my former level of racing,” he said.

“I’m really, really happy to be on the start line this year and to be putting my recovery process behind me now.”

Though he one day hopes to be in contention for a record-equalling fifth Tour crown, Froome’s targets are more humble this year as he rides in support of Israel Start-Up Nation team-mate Michael Woods, handed the role of road captain to put his experience to use.

But the 36-year-old has suggested that he could target a stage win later in the race if he finds his form along the way.

Froome has seven Tour stage wins to his name from his previous successes in the race, but few would mean more to him than if he could raise his arms in celebration over the next three weeks.

“If you’d have asked me three years ago where it really ranks on my list of priorities, of course it’s nice to have but when the general classification is your sole focus it’s not defining in terms of your career,” he said of a stage win.

“But obviously now it’s a very different scenario. For Israel Start-Up Nation a win would be massive, that’s what success looks like for us in this Tour de France.”

Cavendish: No pressure after late Tour call-up

Mark Cavendish said he will begin the Tour de France on Saturday without the burden of expectation on his shoulders after his late call-up into the Deceuninck-QuickStep squad.

The 30-time Tour stage winner got the nod after injury ruled out Sam Bennett, preventing the Irishman from defending the green jersey he won last year and offering Cavendish an unexpected return to the race in which he made his name as the best sprinter of his generation.

“Actually it’s the least amount of pressure I’ve felt in a long time because I’m in a team of the world champion in Julian and the Ronde van Vlaanderen winner Kasper and just this team, that takes the pressure away because it’s not on my shoulders,” he said.

“I kind of just know where I am. There are always going people who try and pull (me down) when I don’t win just because of how I was when I was young.

“I don’t think anybody is really expecting too much from me so I can’t fall from such a great height.”

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