Despite struggling to get to the form that saw him win at Le Tour, Chris Froome has no plans of retiring. According to Cyclingnews, his contract will run until the end of 2025 when Froome will be over 40. And it appears he fully plans to see it through.
“I feel I’ve been given a second chance. I’ve been given an opportunity to come back to bike racing and the sport I love. Had the crash marked the end of my career, I’d have felt I still had more to give,” he said at the press conference on the eve of the Tour Down Under.
“Even though I’m not at the front end of races now, I’m still getting a lot of pleasure doing my job and being part of the Israel-Premier Tech team. It’s as if I’ve rewound 15 years and that I’m looking to get to the top level. It’s a fresh approach for me and hoping to do it for a few more years.”
With the longevity we see in many other sports and the professional approach Froome has about training, nutrition and recovery, we do believe it happening.
“It’s great to see some of the older guys in tennis still extremely competitive, and in cycling, we had Valverde who’s only just retired and raced into his forties, still being extremely competitive.
“I think it’s a lot to do with how athletes are taking care of themselves these days. In terms of professionalism, diets, knowing more about our bodies and basically being able to look after ourselves longer, I think this allows cyclists to go further into their forties than previously.”
Froome has once again left the cold European winters to train in a warmer climate. He’ll stay for a total of five weeks and only return to Europe for a brief stay before heading down to Africa to ride the Tour du Rwanda between February 19-26.
“I’ve always found that going somewhere in January, where I’ve got the opportunity to put in bigger miles where the climate is warmer and more similar to the European summer, is always beneficial for me. That’s part of the big motivation to come down here, to get in the workload. I’ll take the heat over the cold any day. I want to make the most of the warm weather.
“It’s the first time I’ll ride the Tour du Rwanda and the first time back to Africa for a while. I’m looking forward to discovering the race and a chance to check out the Fields of Dreams cycling project the team is developing.”
Froome’s main goal will be to peak his form in July. The fifth Tour de France win remains a big dream of his. While that might be out of reach for good, Froome proved on stage 12 of the 2022 Tour that he can still compete. He joined the break to l’Alpe d’Huez and eventually finished third. Unfortunately, he then contracted COVID-19 on the second rest day and couldn’t take to the start of stage 18. The impact of the virus even marred his chances of a good result at La Vuelta.
“I’d just like to pick up where I left off last year, build on that and get close to my old self again,” Froome said.
Unfortunately, he contracted COVID-19 once again in December last year, which spoilt his Christmas and thus he is not expecting to be competitive at the Tour Down Under.
“The second bout of COVID-19 wasn’t nearly like the first time so I’m happy that I don’t have any ongoing effects. I’m just looking forward to getting stuck into the race now and getting to work on my form. The Tour Down Under is always an event to jump-start the season. Generally, the locals are in great shape having just done the national championships, so the level is pretty good.”
“My season won’t be too dissimilar from other years, riding stage races while heading towards the Tour de France. My main objective is to make the team and to get the best out of myself come July. I want to try and get back to the pointy end of the peloton. Whether that’s at the Tour or anywhere else.”
What do you think? Will Froome be at the pointy end come July?