Chris Froome: There are lots of steps to go before I’m in Tour de France racing shape

Four-time Tour winner adds Vuelta a España to his potential summer schedule.

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Chris Froome (Israel-Premier Tech) has told VeloNews that he is pondering a start at the Vuelta a España later this year and that he could ride back-to-back grand tours for the first time since 2018.

Froome recently came through the Tour de Romandie where he finished 65th overall. The former race winner had to hold back the start to his 2022 campaign due to a lingering knee injury but he has now race three stage races since March. A break will now follow before he builds up to either the Tour de Suisse or the Critérium du Dauphiné in June.

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At Villars, the day of the final Romandie stage, Froome talked about his individual time trial and his current form.

“For me today was about going through the motions. Obviously I’m not in the race going for a result or fighting for the GC but it’s about having that refresh of getting up, doing the recon and approaching it like I was going for GC with the hope that things continue to improve as they have done for the last couple of months,” he told VeloNews.

“If I compare with last season, when I wasn’t able to hang on over the climbs or be as present in the race as I have been this week. I can take a lot of positives from this. It’s the first time in two and a half years that I’ve really felt like nothing has been holding me back from the 2019 crash. Generally, I’m in a really good place. All that’s missing is the hard work and the miles. And then getting up to race fitness.”

There are roughly two months until the Tour de France and it’s still unclear as to whether Israel-Premier Tech will head to the race with a GC leader or if the team will target stage wins. The question facing Froome is still whether he can return to somewhere near his form from before his major crash in 2019.

The British rider believes that there is time to find a competitive edge to his racing, while he also wants to ride the Vuelta later in the year, assuming he comes through the Tour with his health intact.

“If I look at any of my previous years before the crash it always took me time to build up towards July. I’ve found that taking those steps meant that I could hold my form later into the summer as well and into the Vuelta,” he said.

“That’s my aim this year, to build up, try to get to the Tour in the best shape possible and then potentially look at the Vuelta, depending on how things are going. It’s one step at a time, and there are a lot of steps to go before I’m in Tour de France racing shape again. It’s about taking it one week at a time.”

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