Froome taking nothing for granted in race to return for the 2020 Tour and Olympics

Four-time Tour de France winner using cupping therapy and cryotherapy as he works toward returning to full strength after career-threatening crash in June.

Photo: Getty Images

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

FLORENCE, Italy (VN) — Chris Froome is taking nothing for granted in his race to return to the top for the 2020 season. His sights are set on a fifth Tour de France title and the Tokyo Olympics.

The 34-year-old Team Ineos leader, yet to race since breaking his leg in June, appears to be taking every step possible. He posted recently one photograph of him undergoing cupping therapy and another during a cryotherapy session.

“The work never stops,” he wrote on Instagram.

Froome crashed while training June 12 ahead of the time trial in the Critérium du Dauphiné. He fractured his right femur, plus his elbow and ribs. Due to the severity, he has not raced in five months.

With the four-time winner rider out, some wondering if he would race again, Ineos went with its back-up plan for the 2019 Tour de France this July. Its plan included 2018 Tour winner Geraint Thomas and 22-year-old Colombian Egan Bernal. Racing in only his second grand tour, Bernal won the race to give the team its seventh title and began what could be a new chapter for Ineos and the Tour.

Froome meanwhile is still adding chapters to his book. If he were to win a fifth time he would tie the record to join the greats Jacques Anquetil, Bernard Hinault, Eddy Merckx, and Miguel Indurain.

Last month in Japan, he canceled a planned race at the Saitama Criterium but did take part in an exhibition team time trial with Bernal wearing his yellow jersey from the Tour de France.

“My recovery is not at the point yet where I can be back racing,” he told AFP.

“The accident has certainly changed me, given me a new start. It’s like starting from zero again, below zero if you like, that’s what it feels like.

“But it’s completely changed my motivation, given me a challenge I’ve never had before.”

Froome trained with Ineos teammates and previewed the Tokyo Olympics course for the road race. Last night, Great Britain was awarded four spots for the men’s road race.

Back in Europe, Froome has been busy to make sure he is back from zero to 100% for his 2020 campaign. He showed himself undergoing cupping therapy, which uses suction to draw fluid to the area. In Froome’s case, the area was on his right thigh.

U.S. Swimmer Michael Phelps brought attention to the ancient Chinese treatment when he was seen with a number of unusual marks, which cupping leaves, during the 2016 Olympics.

Froome has seen the light side. Writing “In today’s episode of my recovery” when posting a photograph of him smiling in a cyrotherapy chamber. The smile could have been part grimace due to the air sometimes around -200°F. NBA star LeBron James has been seen using the same therapy, which is supposed to improve recovery after big efforts or even injuries.

“The Tour de France is the driving force,” he said. “I’m going to do everything I can to get back to where I left off.”

Those who know him believe it is possible. His former team-mate and 2012 Tour winner Bradley Wiggins even believes the injury is extra motivation.

“I think he will win the Tour [de France] next year,” Wiggins said in a EuroSport Podcast last month.

“He is an amazing athlete and the drive he has got, I think he almost needed something like this to drive him and push him on.

“He was almost getting bored of doing the same old thing every year, and I tell you what: I wouldn’t put anything past him.”

An American in France

What’s it like to be an American cyclist living in France? Watch to get professional road cyclist Joe Dombrowski’s view.