Tour de France 2021 – Chris Froome still in 'quite a lot of pain' from opening day horror crash
“I still have quite a lot of pain from that crash on day one. I’ve got big bruising on my chest and on my hip, but each day it’s getting better, slowly, slowly. I’m certainly feeling day by day that things are improving," said Froome after completing the Stage 5 individual time trial. The Brit still has ambitions of winning a fifth title at the Tour de France.
'I’ve got big bruising' - Froome on injuries after horror crash
The 36-year-old is expected to play a key role as ISN pursue stage wins in the mountains with ambitions of a record-equalling fifth Tour title parked for now.
Speaking after the individual time trial on Stage 5, Froome said he hoped his body would recover ahead of the first trip to the mountains on Saturday.
‘He is down on his return to the Tour’ - Froome caught up in ‘absolute disaster’ of a crash
“I still have quite a lot of pain from that crash on day one. I’ve got big bruising on my chest and on my hip, but each day it’s getting better, slowly, slowly. I’m certainly feeling day by day that things are improving," he told Eurosport after completing the Stage 5 time trial.
“We’ve got the mountain stages coming soon so hopefully I’ll come around a little bit more before we hit the mountains.”
That crash was the second serious spill of Saturday’s eventful curtain raiser, with a fan contriving to hit Tony Martin (Jumbo-Visma) with a placard that sparked a domino effect in the peloton and causing dozens of riders to crash.
French police are seeking to speak to the fan, who held up a sign that read ALLEZ OPI-OMI! which roughly translates as COME ON GRANDDAD-GRANNY.
‘Stupid! Chaos!’ – Fan causes huge crash that brings down entire peloton
"He is on the road back and he’s making improvements. It won’t happen for him in this year's Tour but we'll see later in the year. Maybe he'll be fit enough to be our team leader for the Vuelta and by next year we expect him to be fighting again at the Tour de France," said Adams.
Froome signed a five-year contract ahead of the 2021 season and despite now being 36, Adams does not believe they will return to the market for another Grand Tour competitor.
"I think it’s premature to talk about return on investment. We're all in, Chris is working and, honestly, I’ve never seen anyone with such a work ethic," Adams explained.
"There's nothing he refuses to do. When his coach throws at him crazy workouts and regimes since he started with us, the guy has an amazing work ethic. I would never underestimate the heart of a champion and he’s a real champion. You don’t win four Tours, or seven Grand Tours, just on talent.
‘That puts paid to his GC hopes’ – Wiggins on Froome crash
"When we signed Chris, the idea was that he would come back and be our leader in the Grand Tours and that's what we declared. Sure, it's taking a little longer but he's not just a figurehead. Sure, he provides mentorship and all the other stuff but he needs to return to form.
"We’re hoping and I’m expecting – Chris is too – that he returns to being the old Chris and that he's fighting for wins. He's not a figurehead or a franchise banner for us; he's a winner and a champion.
"For me I'm all in on Plan A. We don't have a Plan B. We believe in Chris, I believe in Chris, and we're putting all of our efforts into him. He's determined to come back and win Tour number five. Chris is a legend of our sport and is the greatest Grand Tour rider of his generation. The kids will look up to him and having that on the team is special. He brings a lot and he'll bring a lot more when he's fighting for victories again in Grand Tours."