Monaco (AP) - The five worst minutes of his cycling career are still erased in Chris Froome's memory.

"I remember lying on the ground and being brought to the hospital by helicopter, but not the fall," reports the four-time Tour de France champion of the tragic fall that took place on Friday. During the tour of the Dauphiné tour, Froome was caught by a gust of wind and crashed into a wall at 55 km / h.

Fractures on the thigh, hip, elbow, ribs and neck not only dashed Froome's hopes for a fifth tour win in summer 2020, but also threatened to end his impressive career in an unsightly way. A scenario that the Briton did not want to make friends with. As persistent as he used to shake off his opponents in the mountains, Froome worked relentlessly at home in Monaco on “one of the greatest comeback stories in sports,” as he calls it.

A year later, Froome's confidence is back: "I'm ready, even as a captain." He has a clear vision of the big goal of the tour of France, which was postponed to the end of August because of the coronavirus pandemic. «My dream is to have more tour wins than anyone else when I retire. That is the dream scenario, but I know that there is still a lot of work to do before it becomes a reality, ”said the 35-year-old in an interview with the French sports daily“ L'Equipe ”. He still needs a win to join the select group of five-time winners Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain.

But times have changed. Ineos team boss Dave Brailsford promised Froome the captain role for the tour, but the all-powerful Ineos boss also promised Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal, the tour winners of the years 2018 and 2019. And the Colombian defending champion immediately made it clear: «I am not ready to throw away a chance for another win. » Froome hardly thinks it will be possible to start with three captains.

And the captain, who has been untouchable for many years, is gradually beginning to realize that his reign with the British super team could end. His advisors are said to have already knocked on other teams. Because Froomes contract expires at the end of the year - contrary to Thomas and Bernal, who are still tied to Ineos until 2021 and 2023, respectively, and harmonized well in the absence of Froome last year.

There was even speculation about a change during the current season. Finally, from August 1 to 15, the world association opened a transfer window because of the coronavirus pandemic. There are a number of interested parties, such as the UAE and Bahrain-McLaren teams, which are supported by millions of people. The Israel Start-Up Nation team, the sporting home of André Greipel, Nils Politt and Rick Zabel, is also traded in the face of billionaire investor Sylvan Adams. However, an annual salary of an estimated 4.5 million euros for a 35-year-old is a deterrent in times of crisis.

And finally Froome has only covered one kilometer of racing in the past twelve months, on the minor UAE Tour in February. The ambitious professional cyclist doesn't see that as an obstacle. Froome knows how to torture himself, so the corona break may have been an advantage.

The lightweight trained in its "cave of suffering" more than 30 hours a week. «It wasn't that difficult mentally. It was the continuation of what I already did in rehab, »said Froome, who had all the necessary fitness equipment at home when the sudden lockdown occurred in March. His ambition is unbroken: "Since my fall I have only focused on one thing: to be on the starting line on the tour."

Froome on the Ineos website

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