Chris Froome was dropped by the peloton on the opening stage of the Volta a Catalunya as his comeback trail hit another hiccup.
The Briton is stepping up his recovery from a horror crash during a recon ride at the Criterium du Dauphine in 2019.
However, Froome was distanced on the day's toughest climb with 49 kilometres remaining and quickly slipped behind team cars.
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“It looks like rehab goes on,” said Carlton Kirby on Eurosport commentary.
“He doesn’t look as light as he has in the past either, but let’s just hope we see the best of Chris Froome a little bit later on.”
Froome eventually trundled home eight minutes and 40 seconds behind stage winner Andreas Kron (Lotto Soudal).
The 35-year-old admitted prior to the race that he would not be challenging for the overall title, but the signs are not promising ahead of a potential yellow jersey bid in France.
He is making his second appearance for Israel Start-Up Nation after finishing 43rd at the UAE Tour in February, having switched from Ineos Grenadiers for the 2021 season.
The Tour de France begins on June 26.
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