‘I know how lucky I am to be here’

Chris Froome in hospital

Chris Froome’s crash occurred before the stage four of the Criterium du Dauphine

Chris Froome says he is “fully focused” on getting “back to his best” after the “major setback” of his high-speed crash on Wednesday.

The four-time Tour de France champion suffered a fracture to his neck as well as a fractured right femur, elbow and ribs, plus a broken hip.

Froome, 34, is likely to spend “at least six months” away from cycling, says the surgeon who operated on him.

“I know how lucky I am to be here,” the Briton said in a statement.

“Whilst this is a setback and a major one at that, I am focusing on looking forward.

“There is a long road to recovery ahead, but that recovery starts now and I am fully focused on returning back to my best.”

The crash happened during a practice ride before stage four of the Criterium du Dauphine in Roanne, France.

In footage captured by ITV4 minutes before the incident, a team-mate tells Froome “you don’t have to take risks, Chris” as he takes both hands off the handlebars to put on a jacket.

But moments later, Froome took his hand off his handlebars again to blow his nose and was travelling at 54km/h when a gust of wind caught his front wheel, causing him to hit a wall.

He was airlifted to Saint-Etienne Hospital, where he is continuing his post-surgery recovery.

“This is obviously a tough time but I have taken a lot of strength from the support over the last three days,” Froome added. “The outpouring of support has been really humbling and something I would never have expected.”

Froome faces six weeks in hospital and is not expected to compete again in 2019. Doctors have said they are “very happy” with his progress.

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Froome’s crash sounds horrific, says Thomas

Geraint Thomas, the 2018 Tour de France winner, said all of Team Ineos was behind their team-mate.

“It’s scary. It’s never nice to hear, especially when it’s a close friend,” Thomas told BBC Wales.

“It sounds horrific really. It was one of those where he would have had time to actually think; he knew he was about to crash.

“It wasn’t ‘boom’ and you’re on the floor before you know it. It was one of those where you try to save it. That’s the worst.

“It sounds like he was lucky to come away with the damage he’s done really. It could have been a hell of a lot worse, which I guess is a positive in a bad scenario. But he’s got the best care around him so hopefully he can get back on the bike soon.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/48648994

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