Chris Froome’s build up to his bid for a fifth Tour de France title suffered another setback with a disappointing showing during the Stage 4 time trial at the Criterium du Dauphine.
The British Israel Start-Up Nation rider was overtaken by German Nils Politt during his race against the clock, eventually finishing 93rd out of 141 riders.
Froome’s time of 23:48 left him 2 minutes and 12 seconds back from stage winner Alexey Lutsenko and 5 minutes and 43 seconds behind general classification leader Lukas Postlberger.
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The 36-year-old is back at the race where he suffered a horrific crash two years ago, which left him in intensive care after sustaining multiple injuries.
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Froome has been under no illusions that he must take his time with his comeback but has laughed off suggestions he could retire and believes he can join the four cyclists who hold the record with the most Tour de France titles - with Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Jacques Anquetil and Miguel Indurain all holding five general classification victories.
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But his performance so far appears to be falling short of where he was expecting, after some positive signs in practice. Speaking before the Criterium, he said: “The biggest goal for me this week is to see if some of the figures from training are coming through to racing.
“Personally, I’d love to see a progression in terms of climbing. I’d like to get further into the climbs that I did earlier this season. That would be a big win for me.”
There is still time for Froome to ride himself into form at the Tour tune-up, with four more stages to come.
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