Coronavirus: Froome's burning ambition will remain after injury, says Kittel

By Sports Desk April 21, 2020

Chris Froome's burning ambition to add to his haul of seven Grand Tour titles will not be diminished by his injury setback, according to Marcel Kittel.

Froome has been the dominant force of cycling for most of the last decade, with four Tour de France victories underlining his brilliance.

However, the Briton broke a leg, his elbow and suffered fractured ribs after crashing into a wall in a training ride at the Criterium du Dauphine in June.

Doubts have been cast over whether the 34-year-old will be able to return to his best form, and Kittel suggested competition from within Team INEOS could make life even tougher for Froome.

"If you look at Chris Froome as an individual athlete, he has already proven his work ethic over the last few years," Kittel, a stage winner in each of the Grand Tours, told Stats Perform.

"How much time and hard work he puts into his training. Despite his fall, his ambitions are still clear to him.

"One question is just how much he has recovered from his fall and injury. He himself says that it looks good. The other question is how to resolve this within Team INEOS with the additional riders of Egan Bernal and Geraint Thomas.

"So how do you go into a Tour with these riders? I imagine that it is very difficult even if the athletes don't play with open cards, to support each other in form or in a team when other teams are strong and attack."

This year's Tour has been pushed back to August 29 after France president Emmanuel Macron banned mass public gatherings until mid-July.

Kittel, who doubts if the race will be able to commence on that date, believes Froome will be among the contenders whenever the event takes place, but said his legacy is secure regardless.

"In the end, Froome will be on par with [Eddy] Merckx," said Kittel.

"He's won all the big tours. He has won the Tour de France four times so far. Maybe he will succeed a fifth time. There are not many riders who have achieved that."

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