The off-season may be in full swing but teams are already getting their riders ready for racing in 2022. That means new bikes, new shoes, and new kit. Froome has been working closely with his team, Israel Start-Up Nation to try and get him back on top of his game, after a few tough years. That has meant working with Canadian Paulo Saldanha, the head of performance at ISUN who has been hoping to get the four-time Tour de France winner back to the level he was at before his serious accident in June 2019. Saldanha has had great success with Michael Woods, helping him with his fitness for the past eight years.
Saldanha met Froome in person in early 2021. “I had spoken a lot to him even before joining him. It was great to put a face to a name,” Froome said. “It was extremely easy to talk to him. I felt as if there was no judgement and I could open up to him very quickly.”
The British rider found it refreshing to work with him. “I think I’ve been with the same coach for ten years, doing things the same, year in year out. Working with him gave me a whole new fresh approach,” he said. “Not that the old way wasn’t good for me but coming back from a major injury, what are we going to try and do now to get me where I was previously.”
Working with Saldanha has helped the Tour star discover where he needed work. “We could see very quickly that I was lacking in the shorter explosive efforts since the crash. We spent a lot of this season working on one to five minute efforts. It’s been great to see the progress and track the results.”
Working with the ISUN trainer Froome has seen gains in both training and racing. He has seen numbers in that zone has vastly improved on back to where it was pre-crash.
Froome still has work to do when it comes to longer sustained efforts. “That’s something I’m going to spend more time on for 2022, it’s where I’ve suffered this year.
Both he and teammate Michael Woods suffered broken legs, and they’ve looked to each other for advice. “We’ve bounced lots of things off each other, especially about removing the hardware in the bones,” he explained. “Mike took his screws out and he felt better, so it made sense for me to look into it further. Previously I wanted to leave it in, so speaking to Mike made sense for me to follow suit.
Watch below to see Froome get analyzed and fitted.
— Israel Start-Up Nation / Israel Cycling Academy (@TeamIsraelSUN) December 9, 2021
With files from Matthew Pioro