Returning Froome confident he can regain best form

Rome (AFP)


Four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome is confident he has "several years of cycling" ahead of him after his recovery from last year's career-threatening Criterium du Dauphine accident.

Froome, 35, will leave Ineos at the end of the year to join Israel Start-Up Nation.

"If I didn't think I'd be able to return at 100 percent after the injury in 2019 I would never have committed to a long-term project," Froome told Tuesday's edition of Italian sports daily Gazzetta dello Sport.

Froome, 35, was left out of Ineos' Tour de France team but is in Italy to compete in the Tirreno-Adriatico, an eight-stage warm-up for the Vuelta a Espana.

He said he "100 percent understood" Ineos boss Dave Brailsford's decision to leave him out of the Tour de France, now in its second week.

"I'm the first to recognise that I wasn't yet at the level that I had to reach," conceded Froome, who broke his neck, femur, elbow, hip and ribs in the crash in France.

While he will lead the Ineos assault on the Vuelta his role in Italy is chiefly "to work for Geraint Thomas who has a chance to win".

Thomas, the 2018 Tour de France winner, was also omitted by Ineos for this year's edition and is instead targeting the Giro d'Italia.

Froome meanwhile says despite his impending departure from Ineos he is "still very focused on giving his best after this strange (coronavirus-disrupted) season".

"And if I succeed, that's going to give me a boost to start next year well.

"For sure it's going to be a very different challenge but also very motivating as I feel I've still got several years of cycling in front of me."

Froome is skipping the world championships at the end of September but may take in the one-day classic Liege-Bastogne-Liege on October 4 before the Vuelta starting on October 20.