Tour de France 2021 – Plenty for Chris Froome to work on but does he have time to get it done?

Otto I. Eovaldi

Four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome (Israel Start-Up Nation) has said

that he feels he still has some way to go to regain the level that saw him win the grandest of the Grand Tours on four occasions.

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“Just finished up a big 90-minute effort from sea level up to 2,200 meters, up above the clouds,” he said.

It’s pretty beautiful but it’s clear I’ve still got a lot of work to do.

Froome was training in Tenerife in the Canaries, a favourite hotspot for altitude training among WorldTour pros, and extremely popular with his old team, the Ineos Grenadiers.

Froome also mentioned that the intensity of the racing at the UAE Tour last month had caught him off guard.

“Racing over in the UAE felt like a bit of a shock to the system a few weeks ago,” he said.

“It’s great to be racing and putting a number on the back — stage 1 right of the blocks was straight into crosswinds. It was, like, ‘Woah, okay, right back to racing,”

Froome’s next race will be the Volta a Catalunya, a tough, climbing-heavy stage race which should show whether Froome’s time at altitude has borne fruit.

Froome fades away on Stage 3 at UAE Tour

Our view

There is a sort of strange cognitive dissonance that arises from watching this video, where Froome outlines he still has work to do before hitting his Tour de France-winning level, while at the same time a whole host of riders are already showing the sort of form that could easily secure a maillot jaune.

Take the UAE Tour, which seemed to catch Froome by surprise with both the intensity of racing and also the heat he experienced during the race. In the video Froome says he typically enjoys racing in hot weather, which might be one reason he proved so excellent at winning Le Tour in July – so the fact he’s now finding it difficult to manage must be slightly troubling for his performance directors.

Froome came 43rd at the UAE Tour. Defending maillot jaune Tadej Pogačar, meanwhile, looked utterly dominant on his way to the overall win. Since UAE, Pogačar has gone on to claim the Tirreno-Adriatico trident, also, while Froome has been shivering in a mountain hut halfway up a volcano.
Primož Roglič has also showed that he is in fine fettle this month, albeit with one disastrous day that cost him the overall Paris-Nice victory. It’s hard to see both Slovenians’ form dipping so dramatically that they meet Froome on his ‘way up’, so to speak.

When Froome says he has more work to do, he is right – but it’s becoming clearer and clearer that he doesn’t have enough time left to do that work before Le Tour kicks off in June.

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