Chris Froome is out of the Tour de France. The four-time champion, who was to be lining up to try and make it a famous five, crashed during reconnaissance of the Criterium du Dauphiné individual time trial, breaking his femur, elbow and ribs.
Heading into today’s individual time trial the signs were good that Chris Froome would be challenging for the stage win and race lead for Team Ineos, but more importantly, that he would be arriving at the Tour de France in peak condition. His performances over the year have steadily built from Colombia in February and Catalunya where he was rather more subdued, to the Tour of the Alps where he took his first top ten finishes of the season.
The Criterium du Dauphiné was where the first signs of the killer instinct that has characterised Froome’s victorious campaigns in the past came out. Froome was the principle reactor to Thibaut Pinot’s aggression in stage 2 of the race, matching everything the Frenchman could throw at him; and all the signs were that he’d most certainly be among the favourites for La Grande Boucle.
That has been thrown into disarray, however, after a crash during recon for the Dauphiné’s individual time trial left him with multiple broken bones. The incident took place on a descent where Froome removed one hand at the same time as a gust of wind took his front wheel from under him at 60kph.
In a team statement, Team Doctor Richard Usher said, “Chris was taken to Roanne Hospital where initial examinations confirmed multiple injuries, most notably a fractured right femur and right elbow. He has also suffered fractured ribs. He is now being airlifted to St Etienne University Hospital for further treatment.
“On behalf of the Team, I would like to commend the treatment he received from the emergency services and all at Roanne Hospital in assessing and stabilising him.
“We will now turn our focus towards supporting him in his recovery.”
Sir Dave Brailsford said that the focus now turns to giving Froome the best care so that he can make a swift recovery; although for cyclists a broken femur is no easy thing to recover from and recovery times can vary radically; with some being marred by the injury even after returning to racing.
“One of the things which sets Chris apart is his mental strength and resilience – and we will support him totally in his recovery, help him to recalibrate and assist him in pursuing his future goals and ambitions.”
Stage 4 of Criterium du Dauphiné was won by Wout van Aert of Jumbo-Visma, who took his first World Tour win ahead of Tejay van Garderen and Tom Dumoulin.