Chris Froome: Pre-Tour de France crash like ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ scene

1 Comment

Chris Froome said the aftermath of his high-speed crash into a wall before the Tour de France was “like a scene from ‘Grey’s Anatomy,'” when first responders tended to him. His plan is to return to the Tour de France next year at his usual fitness, perhaps better.

Froome hit the wall of a house at 34 miles per hour after losing control on a training ride for the Criterium du Dauphine on June 12, three weeks before the Tour de France. He broke his right femur, elbow and several ribs, was in intensive care and underwent surgery for several hours.

“I’ve got no recollection at all,” of the crash, Froome said in a video published Saturday. “I can only really go off what people who saw the crash happen, I can go off what they said. Basically, what I understand is it was a perfectly straight piece of road, slightly downhill, so I was going at quite [a bit] of speed. I went to go and clear my nostrils, and I was also going past some buildings at the same time. The wind funneled through between buildings and taken my front wheel and basically tried to hold it up and ended up veering off the road into a wall at quite high speed.”

Froome, a four-time Tour de France champion, said the first responders were a coach, mechanic and a Team Ineos director who were in a car behind him while he was preparing for a time trial at the Criterium du Dauphine.

“One of my first questions was, ‘Am I going to be all right for the Tour de France in a few weeks’ time?’” Froome remembered. “And they very quickly put that out of my mind. They couldn’t obviously give a prognosis, but they said it looks like your leg’s broken and your arm doesn’t look good, either. So, no, you’re not going to be on your bike. I think those first moments were the moments that really sort of hit home, and I took it on board that I’m not going be racing the Tour de France this summer. It almost felt like a scene from ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ or something. It just hit home that, I, actually there’s more going on.”

Froome was airlifted to Saint-Etienne hospital in central France. He remembered barely being able to breathe after surgery, coughing up blood as his lungs were damaged by the broken ribs and a broken sternum.

“It was scary when I did come around the morning after the operation and just felt how hopeless I was lying in that bed,” he said.

A surgeon told him that he could make a 100 percent recovery. Froome said he’s ahead of “all the predictions that were made” for how long it would take to get to this point — starting weight-bearing while doing three to four hours of physical therapy every morning and two hours of exercises in the afternoon.

“The only goal I’ve set myself, personally, is to get to the Tour de France next year,” he said. “That’s what’s driving me. Week by week, I can set myself little goals in terms of allowing myself a little bit more movements or small goals. But, for me, the underlying goal is to get to the start of that Tour de France next year, in 2020, and to be at a similar or better position than I was this year.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

MORE: Lance Armstrong, at peace with consequences, faces lifelong commitment

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

UCI looks for new host for 2020 World Road Cycling Championships

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The International Cycling Union (UCI) is looking for a new host for the 2020 World Road Cycling Championships due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Switzerland can no longer host the week-long event in late September after a national decision to extend a ban on events with more than 1,000 people through next month.

Amid reports the competition has been canceled, the UCI clarified Wednesday that it still hopes to hold it in some form, perhaps without some of the junior or senior races.

It now seeks an “alternative project,” preferably still in Europe and on the same dates (Sept. 20-27).

Worlds were due to start in Switzerland on the same day that the rescheduled Tour de France ends, though the senior elite men’s races are typically not on the first three days.

The Tour de France is still scheduled to start Aug. 29.

Last year, American Chloe Dygert starred at road worlds, winning the time trial in dominant fashion. Other world champions in Olympic events: Annemiek van Vleuten (road race), Rohan Dennis (time trial) and Mads Pedersen (road race).

MORE: Chloe Dygert had the most dominant ride in history. It still drives her nuts.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Michael Phelps qualifies for first Olympics at age 15 in 2000

Leave a comment

In the biggest race of his young life, a 15-year-old Michael Phelps turned for the last 50 meters in fourth place of the U.S. Olympic Trials 200m butterfly final on Aug. 12, 2000.

His mom, Debbie, couldn’t watch. She turned away from the Indianapolis Natatorium pool and stared at the scoreboard. Both Debbie and Phelps’ coach, Bob Bowman, mentally prepared their consolation speeches for the rising Towson High School sophomore outside Baltimore.

Then Phelps, fueled by nightly Adam’s Mark chicken sandwich-and-cheesecake room service and amped by pre-race DMX on his CD player, turned it on. He zoomed into second place, becoming the youngest U.S. male swimmer to qualify for an Olympics since 1932.

Phelps had “come out of nowhere in the last six months” to become an Olympic hopeful, NBC Sports swimming commentator Dan Hicks said on the broadcast. True, Phelps chopped five and a half seconds off his personal best that March.

“He doesn’t know what it means to go to the Olympics and how it’s going to change his life,” Tom Malchow, the 1996 Olympic silver medalist who held off Phelps in that trials final, said that night, according to The Associated Press. “He’s going to find out soon.”

Phelps, who did his trademark arm flaps before the trials final, made Bowman look like a prophet. Four years earlier, the coach sat Debbie down for a conversation she would not soon forget.

“Told me what he projected for Michael,” Debbie said, according to the Baltimore Sun‘s front-page story on a local 15-year-old qualifying for the Sydney Games. “He said that in 2004, he would definitely be a factor in the Olympics. He also said that he could be there in 2000, to watch out for him. At the time, he was only 11.”

The trials were bittersweet for the Phelps family. Whitney, one of Phelps’ older sisters, withdrew before the meet with herniated discs in her back that kept her from making an Olympics after competing in the 1994 World Championships at age 14.

After Phelps qualified for the Olympics, one of the first people to embrace him was Whitney on the pool deck.

The next week, Phelps, still with bottom-teeth braces, did his first live TV sitdown on CNN, swiveling in his chair the whole time, according to his autobiography, “Beneath the Surface.”

The next month, Phelps finished fifth in his Olympic debut, clocking a then-personal-best time that would have earned gold or silver at every previous Olympics.

Following the Olympic race, gold medalist Malchow patted Phelps on the back, according to “No Limits,” another Phelps autobiography. What did Malchow say?

“The best is ahead of you.”

MORE: Meet Arnie the Terminator, Katie Ledecky’s top rival

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!