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Chris Froome slated for more surgery in December

Returns to competition at Saitama team time trial but not fit enough for criterium

Chris Froome’s road to race fitness went through Japan last week as he was able to take part in a 3-km exhibition team time trial with Egan Bernal and Jonathan Castroviejo five months after his devastating crash at the Criterium du Dauphinรฉ, but withdrew from Sunday’s Saitama criterium due to lack of fitness.

On Friday, he rode the final 40 km of the Tokyo Olympic Games road race course with Michal Kwiatkowski, Jakob Fuglsang and Romain Bardet. All four were in Saitama on Sunday.

Despite needing surgery to repair a severed tendon on his left thumb after a kitchen mishap in September, Froome’s recovery has been remarkable.

However, the 34-year-old Brit’s journey to full fitness has an upcoming detour, as he must undergo more surgery on his right leg in December. In Saitama he told reporters, “Iโ€™ve still got more surgery (in December) to remove a big metal plate and about six screws. Itโ€™s quite tender, the muscle and soft tissue thatโ€™s being impacted by this metal plate on my hip.” Still limping noticeably, Froome is determined to “get the legs back to 50-50 (instead of 65-35 strength balance).”

His goal for 2020 is the Tour de France-Tokyo double. The Tour, announced earlier this month, starts a little earlier next year (June 27) to accommodate the Tokyo road cycling schedule.

After Saitama, Froome was able to take in the Rugby World Championships semi-final between Wales and South Africa.