• Chris Froome (L) talking to Matthew Keenan at the first L'Etape Australia event clinic. (Supplied)Source: Supplied
Multiple Tour de France winner Chris Froome has revealed that the freak Mont Ventoux crash during Stage 12 of the 2016 race left him more badly injured than he let on at the time - with the Team Sky rider initially fearing he’d broken his back.
Kevin Eddy

Cycling Central
2 Dec 2016 - 7:56 PM  UPDATED 2 Dec 2016 - 8:01 PM

Froome told riders at the inaugural L’Etape Australia that he and Team Sky kept the true extent of his injuries a secret.

“I never really shared with the media and the public how bad that crash was for me,” said Froome. “For days afterward I had a pain in my back, I thought I’d broken a vertebrae or something. It was so painful."

The team even managed to hide a nighttime visit to a hospital for X-rays and CT scans four days after the incident.

“I spent the whole evening after the race in hospital to check there weren’t any issues,” he added. “It was actually pretty serious but during the race, you don’t want to show any weakness or give your rivals any hope in that respect, so it was something we kept under wraps.”

“Letting your rivals know that you’re injured is like throwing a kitten to the wolves. You don’t want to show any kind of weakness at all.”

The much-publicised accident - which saw Froome running up the climb for a short time while waiting for a replacement bike after a collision with a camera motorbike – ultimately had no impact on the race result after commissaires neutralised the stage. However, the images of Froome running have become synonymous with the 2016 Tour.

“More in common with the Mur de Huy”

The reigning Tour champ also had plenty of advice for the 3,000-plus riders taking on the 157km sportive in the Snowy Mountains tomorrow.

“Make sure you ride at a sustainable tempo and don’t get too excited at the beginning of a long climb [like the final climb to Perisher]” he said. “Take it easy in the first half of the ride - ride within yourself and save your efforts for the end.”

Froome also emphasised the importance of good nutrition and hydration before and during the event.

“Carbo-loading is a bit of a myth,” he said. “Loading up on pasta and potatoes isn’t ideal as you’ll just start the race feeling bloated. Instead, eat normally - perhaps some long grain basmati the night before, some good protein, and not too many fats.”

“Have a good breakfast, a solid bowl of porridge and ideally some eggs - some protein before you start riding is important,” he added.

“Make sure you eat from the first hour on the bike, too: eat solid food early on and save the sugary gels for near the end when you’ll need it. Hydration is important in the heat too - you should be drinking 500ml of fluid every half an hour.”

Froome will line up at the back of the field at the beginning of tomorrow’s event and is aiming to reach the front of the field to cross the finish line first.

He said that it would be no walk in the park, however, highlighting the ‘Col du Beloka’ between Dalgetty and Jindabyne as a “wall” that “had more in common with the Mur de Huy than anything else”.