— Tour de France™ (@LeTour) April 15, 2020
The news that the 2020 Tour de France has been moved to the end of August will be a relief for many riders and cycling fans who may have been worried that the event would be canceled. But one rider who might be quietly pleased with the news is Britain’s Chris Froome.
The Team Ineos rider suffered horrific injuries to his neck, arm, ribs, and hip during a crash in a practice session at the Criterium du Dauphine in June 2019 and missed the rest of the campaign. However, he returned to the roads at the UAE Tour in February and is moving closer to a full recovery. The next goal will be to compete for victory in a Grand Tour race in 2020.
Delay could aid victory quest
With four Tour de France’s under his belt, it is no surprise that a fifth win remains Froome’s main target and the delay to the start of this year’s race could help him to achieve that goal – although teammate and reigning champion Egan Bernal might have something to say about that.
A shot at a Grand Tour may seem a little far-fetched considering how off the pace Froome was in February but Team Ineos should never be underestimated and they will be preparing their man to be in the best shape possible when the action kicks off in Nice. And they will take full advantage of the extra few weeks of preparation they have. Add to that the fact that many rider’s training schedules have been delayed in recent weeks and things look even better for the 34-year-old.
Froome has publically stated that his recovery is going well and his back in normal training. Having a target to aim for will give him a boost as he aims to match the records of cycling legends Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Miguel Indurain, and Bernard Hinault, who all have five Le Tour wins to their name.
— Chris Froome (@chrisfroome) March 2, 2020
Team Ineos face tough choices
With Froome back in the saddle, his team will be faced with a dilemma of whether to give priority to the Brit from Day One or to favor the reigning champion and current favourite in the bet365 cycling betting, Egan Bernal. The alternative will be to let the riders jostle for position in the early stages before throwing their full weight behind whichever one looks in control.
The Nairobi-born rider’s last Grand Tour win came at the Giro d’Italia in 2018 and his last Tour de France win came in 2017, the same year that he claimed his second Vuelta a Espana victory.
The combination of a three-year gap with a serious injury in between might cause some to pay down his chances but the noises coming from within the camp suggest they feel he has a genuine chance to make a spectacular comeback. We will have to wait until September to see who will be wearing that yellow jersey on the Champs-Elysées in Paris.