Chris Froome (Israel-Premier Tech) during stage 6 of the 2022 Critérium du Dauphiné.

Poorly Chris Froome has abandoned the Critérium du Dauphiné

Chris Froome was forced to drop out before the penultimate stage of the Dauphiné, a key dial-up race for the Tour de France.

by Kit Nicholson

photography by Cor Vos

Chris Froome was a non-starter on stage 7 of the Critérium du Dauphiné. The four-time Tour de France winner had been struggling with un-specified illness in the run-up to the crucial Alpine weekend of the French stage race.

“I was looking forward to the final two stages of the Dauphine but I haven’t been feeling 100%,” Froome said via his team’s social media. “It’s disappointing to leave the race unfinished but I’ve been progressing well and don’t want to set myself back at this important stage of the season.”

With less than three weeks to go before the Tour de France begins on Friday July 1, this news does not bode well for Israel-Premier Tech’s marquee rider. Froome’s form has been steadily building in recent weeks, but a heavy question mark still hovered over the Kenyan-born Brit coming into the Dauphiné. 

However, after a couple of quiet years – at least as far as results are concerned – devoted to recovery, the man himself was feeling optimistic earlier this week.

“This is the first time in three years that I’ve been fully niggle free, issue free,” Froome said early in the Dauphiné. “I haven’t had any pain, I haven’t had any discomfort, the left-right leg balance is in place. It’s been an uninterrupted period since January until now to be able to work consistently and move things in the right direction.”

Considered a crucial stepping stone leading to summer’s big spectacle, the Dauphiné is a race Froome has won three times, each one a prelude to Tour de France victory. But it’s also where he suffered the horror crash that put an end to a high-flying chapter of his career.

“People need to remember where I’m coming from now over these last three years is a completely different place,” he said. “At this race three years ago, I almost lost my life. I couldn’t straighten my leg or put weight on my leg for the best part of four or five months. I broke my leg in two places, to come back from something like that isn’t guaranteed.”

This year, the 38-year-old started his French campaign with 11th at the 1.1-ranked Mercan’Tour Classic Alpes-Maritimes where his teammates Jakob Fuglsang and Michael Woods took first and second. Next was his tenth participation at the Dauphiné, which started anonymously and went downhill from the stage 4 time trial, a discipline he used to favour, where he finished 3:06 down in 64th.

Froome’s last chance to show his value prior to the Tour de France will be at the Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge, assuming he’s recovered by then.

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