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.
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