CHRIS FROOME remains in intensive care following his high-speed crash, but surgeons have told the four-time Tour de France winner he could be back in action in six months.
Froome, 34, suffered multiple fractures and was in surgery for more than six hours in St Etienne following the crash in training at the Criterium du Dauphine as his hopes of competing in this year’s Tour were left in ruins.
Team Ineos chief Sir Dave Brailsford said yesterday: ‘He had surgery to repair his femur, his hip, his elbow. He’s got broken ribs, a little bit of internal damage as well.
‘He’s being very well looked after. Our doctor is with him now and [his wife] Michelle is with him.’
On Froome’s prospects of returning to the sport, Brailsford added: ‘For now, let’s just concentrate on getting him through today, then tomorrow and see how this develops from there.’
In a later statement, Team Ineos doctor Richard Usher said: ‘Chris woke up this morning and was reviewed by the intensive care consultants and the orthopaedic specialist who operated on him and they’re both very happy.’
Dr Remi Philippot said he was satisfied Froome had avoided a head injury and suggested he could return to action early next year.
‘Froome quickly recovered [from surgery], asking right away when he can get back on a bike. He should be able to resume competition within six months,’ he explained.
New details of the crash emerged yesterday with rival rider Dan Martin revealing he had seen the incident unfold while following Froome on the course. ‘I thought it could have been much worse. I thought he could have been dead,’ said the Irishman. ‘To see something like that isn’t pleasant.’
Stage five of the Dauphine yesterday was won by Wout van Aert with Adam Yates retaining the overall lead.
■ CHRIS FROOME is set to retrospectively become Britain’s first Grand Tour winner — adding a seventh to his collection — after 2011 Vuelta a Espana champion Juan Jose Cobo was found guilty of a doping violation. The UCI said its ruling was ‘based on abnormalities from 2009 and 2011 detected in his Biological Passport’. He will lose his Vuelta title, with Froome, runner-up ahead of Sir Bradley Wiggins, set to benefit.