Vuelta a España: ‘COVID hit me harder than expected,’ says Chris Froome

Michael Woods handed leadership for final grand tour of 2022.

Photo: Getty Images

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Chris Froome forms part of an attack-minded Israel-Premier Tech squad for the Vuelta a España with the two-time race winner eager to pitch in after recovering from a bout of COVID-19.

Froome was forced to quit the Tour de France in July as a result of the virus and has not raced since. However he heads to the Vuelta alongside Michael Woods, another rider who saw his Tour end with a positive test for COVID-19.

The pair brings a wealth of experience to call on when it comes to the final grand tour of the season with Woods a former stage winner and a top-10 finisher.

“COVID hit me harder than expected but I’m fully recovered now and back to my normal training load,” Froome said in a statement released by his team.

“It wasn’t quite the buildup to the Vuelta that I had hoped for this year but I’m still very much looking forward to making the most of the race and helping Israel-Premier Tech get another successful grand tour in the bag. It’s no secret that the Vuelta is one of my favorite races on the calendar, and I can’t wait to get back to racing on the roads of Spain,” Froome said.

Also read: Chris Froome and Mike Woods over COVID, set to race Vuelta a España for Israel-Premier Tech

Woods will target the overall standings for the team. The Canadian crashed during the first week of the Tour de France and never regained his momentum before eventually pulling out. Like Froome, he is hoping to turn the page after a difficult period.

“I’m doing quite well after having COVID and I wasn’t impacted too long but it took me a fair amount of time to recover from the crash I sustained on stage 9 of the Tour de France so I definitely needed a bit of time off. I had two solid weeks of training where I started feeling like my old self on the bike and wrapped up a good training block in Andorra so I’m feeling confident and optimistic for the Vuelta,” he said.

“I think of all the grand tours, it is the one that suits me the best. I am really excited to do another GC run, especially at a race I have had success at in the past, finishing seventh in 2017 and also winning two stages. I got my first WorldTour win in the Vuelta and it’s a race that has always been close to my heart. I’m looking forward to getting back into the Basque Country and also kicking it off with a really cool team time trial,” Woods added.

Israel-Premier Tech for the Vuelta a España: Chris Froome, Patrick Bevin, Mike Woods, Alessandro De Marchi, Itamar Einhorn, Omer Goldstein, Daryl Impey, and Carl Fredrik Hagen.

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