08 September 2020

Froome ‘100 per cent understands’ missing out on Tour de France and admits it will be ‘hard’ to take jersey from Roglic

Chris Froome has said he understands why he was not selected by Team Ineos Grenadiers for the Tour de France this year.

The 35 year-old won the three-week stage race in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017 but was left out of the team for the postponed 2020 edition due to a lack of race fitness.

Since his serious high-speed crash at the Criterium du Dauphine in June 2019 which left him with a fractured right femur, a fractured elbow and fractured ribs, the four-time Tour winner has been unable to regain his form of previous years.

And while he continues to recover impressively from such a severe accident, the British-Kenyan was not surprised at being left at home during the Tour.

"No, not hugely so," he told Cycling News and Gazzetta dello Sport. "I understand, 100 percent. I could feel myself that I wasn’t where I needed to be."

Froome, who will now focus on the Vuelta Espana which begins on October 20, announced back in July he would be leaving Ineos at the end of the season after ten years with the team and will instead link-up with Israel Start-Up Nation.

And despite the fact that he will be 36 years-old by the time the 2021 Tour rolls around, he still remains confident he has a fifth victory in him.

He added: "I wouldn’t have signed up to a programme like that if I didn’t believe it’s possible. I enjoy it when people say that. It gives me a bit of extra motivation, but only time will tell."

Roglic leads the Tour by 21 seconds after nine stages of the race (ABACA/PA Images)

After 2018 Tour winner Geraint Thomas was also left out of the Ineos squad for this year’s Tour, it was left up to reigning champion Egan Bernal to lead Dave Brailsford’s team.

The 23-year-old Colombian currently sits second in the general classification after nine stages, behind only race leader Primoz Roglic.

Froome feels Bernal is in a positive place as the Tour begins to take shape in the second week, but is aware Roglic will be difficult to unhitch now he has the yellow jersey.

"It looks like Egan is in good shape. He’s coming right, which is nice to see," he said.

"Hopefully, the race continues to Paris. We’ll all wait and see what comes from the [coronavirus] testing today. With Roglic, it’s going to be hard to take back any time from his dominant position at the moment but having said that, [Tadej] Pogacar’s been lighting up the race as well.

"We’ve always seen that Roglič tends to tail off a little bit in the Grand Tours towards the third week and he really was flying at Tour de l’Ain and the Dauphiné before his crash. It remains to be seen how long he can hold it for. That’s what makes the Tour so exciting."

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