Chris Froome was pleased to be at the heart of the action on the penultimate stage of the Tour of the Alps on Thursday.
Israel Start-Up Nation saw Dan Martin crash towards the end of the stage, meaning he missed out on a top-free finish, but Froome was able to hint at a return to something like his best form.
The British star was part of 11 riders on the Passo Castrin, joined by Hermann Pernsteiner (Bahrain Victorious), Nicolas Roche (Team DSM), Luis León Sánchez (Astana-Premier Tech) and others.
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Froome has endured a difficult time since his 2019 crash at the Criterium du Dauphine and leaving the Ineos Grenadiers. His serious injuries required extensive surgery and rehabilitation before he could get back to racing.
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Speaking after the stage he reflected on his progress, saying: "I think this was the first time I have been in a breakaway since the Giro d’Italia of 2018.
I really enjoyed being up there today, testing the legs a bit. Especially as the break went away on a quite hard section after a bunch of attacks.
"It was a shame that we never got much of a gap, but it was still a good experience to be up there again. I can feel that the condition is slowly improving and I’m pretty happy with how the legs are feeling."
Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) won Thursday’s stage, while Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange) extended his lead in the General Classification.
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