Chris Froome is the peloton’s Connor MacLeod, the Highlander played by Christopher Lambert in the 1986 cult movie, the immortal warrior who refuses to surrender and so transcends generations.
Gen Z riders are rapidly taking over in the peloton and winning the biggest races, but Froome won’t surrender or retire. He may not have won a race since the 2018 Giro d’Italia and he will turn 38 on May 20, but he is the only rider in the current peloton to have won all three Grand Tours during his career. Tadej Pogačar et al cannot make that claim just yet.
Despite his age and his hugely difficult return to racing after his life-threatening crash at the 2019 Critérium du Dauphiné, Froome still loves hard training rides and long hours in the saddle.
Age has not wearied him. Indeed, Froome still has the enthusiasm and motivation to travel the world to races, criteriums, training camps and sponsor events, with a motivation and professionalism that puts many other riders to shame.
Froome is stubborn and steadfast but is also aware of the critics and sceptics, those who think he is past his best and not even deserving of a place with Israel-Premier Tech.
He now concedes it will be a hard task to return to the heady days of Team Sky when he won six Grand Tours between 2013 and 2018, but he believes that any kind of victory in 2023 can give him the elixir of his lost youth and the ability to win again.
“A lot of people would say: ‘Why are you doing this? You used to win Grand Tours but now you’re a long way back in the pack.’ But I see it in another way,” Froome recently told Cyclingnews and a select group of other journalists as he began his 2023 season.
“I was in a hospital bed for weeks after my 2019 crash, it took me almost a year to be able to walk without a limp. And now here I am racing in the highest level of races again. I just feel like everything from here on is a bonus for me and I see it all in an incredibly positive light. Racing my bike still gives me a lot of joy and happiness. And as long as that’s the case, I’m going to keep striving to get back to my old ways.”
The last three years have been three seasons of defeat and disappointment for Froome. He initially talked up his hopes and ambitions of another Grand Tour win, perhaps trying to…
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