• Chris Froome interview at the start of Stage 1 of the UAE Tour (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Chris Froome is happy to be back racing, making it home from the first stage of the UAE Tour incident-free, but he says it is too early to talk about lining-up for the Tour de France.
Cycling Central

Velon, Eurosport
24 Feb 2020 - 10:58 AM  UPDATED 24 Feb 2020 - 11:18 AM

Before turning a pedal at the UAE Tour, the first time he has pinned on a race number in eight months, Chris Froome was asked if he would even line-up for the Tour de France let alone once again reign over the race he and Team Ineos has dominated for the past decade. 

Eurosport (Juan Antonio Flecha): "Did you decide yet with the team...when you going to decide if you go to the Tour or not...did you decide with the team...?"

Froome (shakes head emphatically) "No..."

"For me personally it's a long way away so I'm not even going to get into details about what the different scenarios could be," Froome clarified. "But it's too far away at this point I think to really say much more about the Tour."

The next day, after safely making it home incident free from his first stage back racing, Froome was cheerier, the delight only a racer can truly experience etched over his face. 

"To be honest (I was) really excited! It almost felt like being a neo-pro again and just coming to my first race again. (It was) only eight months out, it felt like it was longer."

Despite all the excitement, Froome repeated the major theme of his comeback. 

"Two to three months ago I could barely walk. I was was walking with a big limp so I mean to be in a bike race racing at pro tour level that's a huge victory in itself.

"I know I'm not in winning condition," he answered when asked what kind of shape he was in. "But I should be in a good enough condition to get through the race and do what I can for the team."

The four-time Tour de France champion was still non-committal about his future. Whether smoke and mirrors designed to mess with rivals, or the truth (or both!) it is hard to know. 

But one thing is certain. Froomey is back and he is loving it. 

"Like I said, first race after eight months I can't set my expectations too high but just being here already is a big victory, a big goal for me.

"(There's) still a way to go til I'm back to where I left off but first feelings are really good. It felt good to just have a race number on, have elbows out again and fighting for position in the bunch feels good. It's good to to be at a  bike race again."

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Watch the star-studded sprint field do battle on Stage 1 of the UAE Tour: