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    Froome close to return after crash

    fter a three-year absence from the Tour de France, Chris Froome’s comeback might already be over. After only one stage. The four-time champion was in a massive high-speed crash about 10 kilometers from the finish of Saturday’s opening stage in Landerneau.

    Froome, who missed the last two Tours after a 2019 crash threatened to end his career, stayed on the road for a moment and struggled to get back on his feet. He finally got back on his bike and finished the stage lagging more than 14 minutes behind stage winner Julian Alaphilippe.

    “Not how I planned for today to go but I managed to finish,” he said.

    Scans revealed no fractures and his team said he will be monitored by medical staff overnight. “Another update will be given tomorrow morning,” the team said.

    Froome was tasked with a role of road captain at his new Israel Start-Up Nation team and was expected to work in support of leader Michael Woods.

    Froome’s career took a turn for the worse during a training crash at the 2019 Critérium du Dauphiné, an event he had been using to fine-tune his bid for a record-equaling fifth Tour title. In the accident, he broke his right femur, elbow, and ribs.

    After getting back to competitive racing, Froome has not returned to his previous best level. In addition to his four Tour titles, Froome has also won the Spanish Vuelta and the Giro d’Italia.

    Chris Froome will return to racing at the UAE Tour next month as he continues his recovery from career-threatening injuries. Froome broke multiple bones, including his right femur, a hip and ribs, when he crashed into a wall at high speed during a recon ride at the Critérium du Dauphiné last June.

    The seven-times Grand Tour winner aims to be on the start line for the Tour de France in June, determined to pursue a record-equalling fifth Tour title. His return to racing will come in the week-long UAE Tour, which starts on 23 February.

    In a short video posted from a training camp, Froome said: “Training has been going really well in Gran Canaria so I’m really happy to announce I’ll be starting my season at the UAE Tour next month, starting in Dubai. It’s a race I missed out on last year so it’s a great place for me to start my season this time around. Thanks for all the support, so see you out on the road.”

    Froome returned to riding in September and made a brief appearance in the team time trial at the end-of-season Saitama Criterium in Japan.

    He joins a provisional startlist for the UAE Tour, which also includes former world champion Alejandro Valverde, last year’s Giro d’Italia king of the mountains Giulio Ciccone, and Froome’s team-mate Rohan Dennis, the world time-trial champion. The race is also on the agenda for Bahrain-McLaren’s Mark Cavendish.

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