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Froome’s return to the Tour could be short-lived after crash

June 26, 2021 GMT
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Britain's Chris Froome lays on the road after crashing during the first stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 197.8 kilometers (122.9 miles) with start in Brest and finish in Landerneau, France, Saturday, June 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)
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Britain's Chris Froome lays on the road after crashing during the first stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 197.8 kilometers (122.9 miles) with start in Brest and finish in Landerneau, France, Saturday, June 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

LANDERNEAU, France (AP) — After a three-year absence from the Tour de France, Chris Froome’s comeback might already be over. After only one stage.

The four-time champion was in a massive high-speed crash about 10 kilometers from the finish of Saturday’s opening stage in Landerneau.

Froome, who missed the last two Tours after a 2019 crash threatened to end his career, stayed on the road for a moment and struggled to get back on his feet.

He finally got back on his bike and finished the stage lagging more than 14 minutes behind stage winner Julian Alaphilippe.

“Not how I planned for today to go but I managed to finish,” he said.

Scans revealed no fractures and his team said he will be monitored by medical staff overnight.

“Another update will be given tomorrow morning,” the team said.

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Froome was tasked with a role of road captain at his new Israel Start-Up Nation team and was expected to work in support of leader Michael Woods.

Froome’s career took a turn for the worse during a training crash at the 2019 Critérium du Dauphiné, an event he had been using to fine-tune his bid for a record-equaling fifth Tour title. In the accident he broke his right femur, elbow and ribs.

After getting back to competitive racing, Froome has not returned to his previous best level.

In addition to his four Tour titles, Froome has also won the Spanish Vuelta and the Giro d’Italia.

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