“It’s still way too early to say” - Chris Froome unsure he'll be allowed Tour de France return later this summer

After suffering the bitter blow of being left out of the Israel - Premier Tech lineup for the 2023 Tour de France, whether or not four-time Maillot Jaune winner Chris Froome will be allowed to return to the race he became synonymous with during the 2010s later this year, remains to be seen.

The 39-year-old made a return to racing on Wednesday afternoon, finishing 47th at the Mercan'Tour Classic as he worked in a predominantly domestique role for teammates such as George Bennett (7th on the day) and Matthew Riccitello (10th on the day). With the upcoming Criterium du Dauphine also on Froome's race programme in the coming weeks, it might be imperative the Brit impresses.

“It’s still way too early to say,” Froome said pre-Mercan'Tour Classic, when asked by Eurosport if a return to the Tour de France will be on the cards for him later this summer. "First things first, let’s get through today, and get into the Dauphiné and see how the condition is.”

As mentioned, four Tour de France victories live on the palmares of Froome and with three Criterium du Dauphine triumphs in the past, this is a time of year that historically the former Team Sky figurehead has excelled in.

Nairo Quintana and his arch-rival Chris Froome. @Sirotti
Froome took victory at the Tour de France in 2013, 2015, 2016 & 2017

Having been out of action since March ahead of the Mercan'Tour Classic however, the racing level of the 39-year-old is far from his best at the current moment. “It’s been a long time since I’ve raced, since I fractured my wrist in Tirreno,” Froome explains. “I had to wear a cast for almost two months. I’m looking forward to racing again, and next week going off to the Dauphiné.”

“I’m fully recovered, and I’ve just came down from an altitude camp with the team, and I am looking forward to racing again,” Froome, who in total has seven Grand Tour victories on his palmares. “I haven’t raced in a few month, so just getting back into the race again, finding the legs, and helping. We’ve got a couple of guys who are really aiming for the victory.”

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