Chris Froome is ready and excited to take the next step in his rehabilitation when he returns to the peloton at the UAE Tour this week.
It will be Froome’s first race back since his crash during a recon of stage four at the Criterium du Dauphine in June.
He said: “It’s all I’ve thought about for months now - being back racing. It will be a huge relief just to be back in the peloton again. It feels like I’ve been given a second chance to come back to pro racing after a crash like that. I’m definitely not taking that for granted.
“The year’s gone incredibly well so far but having said that I do still need to manage expectations. I’m still quite a way off where I was at the Dauphine before the crash. It’s going to take me a while to get back to that shape.”
He added: “It’s been exciting to see the progress week-on-week. I haven’t done much intensity yet but I’ve been doing a lot of volume - that’s the focus at the moment, trying to build up that base again. I’m still doing some rehab and physio sessions off the bike, but that’s become secondary now.
“It’s been great to be back doing the normal sessions with the guys and actually being able to get through the workload again. I’ve still got to work on the strength of the leg which was injured but that’s already improving quickly.”
And Froome sees the seven-day UAE Tour as the ideal race for his return.
“This is a great way for me to start my season. It’s a race I missed out on last year and I was really hoping to do. It should be a good place for me to test out my legs and get back in the peloton again. Hopefully I can do a job for the team and we can try and get the best result possible.”