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

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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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World champion wins doping case citing bodily fluids from boyfriend

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — A world champion canoeist won a doping case Monday after persuading a tribunal that her positive test was caused by bodily fluid contamination from her boyfriend.

The International Canoe Federation (ICF) ended its investigation into 11-time world champion Laurence Vincent Lapointe, who tested positive for a steroid-like substance in July. She faced a four-year ban and could have missed her event’s Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games.

The Canadian canoe sprint racer and her lawyer detailed in a news program that laboratory analysis of hair from her then-boyfriend showed he was likely responsible for a tiny presence of ligandrol in her doping sample.

“The ICF has accepted Ms. Vincent Lapointe’s evidence which supports that she was the victim of third-party contamination,” the governing body said in a statement, clearing her to return to competition.

The legal debate is similar to tennis player Richard Gasquet’s 2009 acquittal in the “cocaine kiss” case. The Court of Arbitration for Sport accepted Gasquet’s defense that kissing a woman who had taken cocaine in a Miami nightclub, after he had withdrawn injured from a tournament, caused his positive test.

The 27-year-old Vincent Lapointe was provisionally suspended for almost six months and missed the 2019 World Championships, which was a key qualifying event for the Tokyo Olympics. American 17-year-old Nevin Harrison won the 200m world title in her absence.

She can still qualify for the Olympic debut of women’s canoe sprint events with victory at a World Cup event in May in Germany.

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U.S. women’s soccer team begins Olympic qualifying, which should rest on one match

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The U.S. women’s soccer team has never been in danger in Olympic qualifying, but that doesn’t change this fact: It must win on Feb. 7 to reach the Tokyo Games.

The CONCACAF tournament begins Tuesday in Houston, where the world champion Americans face world No. 72 Haiti. The last two group games are against No. 68 Panama on Friday and No. 37 Costa Rica on Feb. 3. The top two nations from the group advance to Feb. 7 semifinals.

The U.S. roster, with 18 of its 20 players coming from the 2019 World Cup team, is here.

Since CONCACAF qualifies two nations to the Olympics, the semifinals are the deciding games.

Should the U.S. win its group, it would face the runner-up from the other group in a winner-goes-to-Tokyo match. The other group (world ranking):

Canada (8)
Mexico (37)
Jamaica (53)
St. Kitts and Nevis (127)

Chaos could result in the unlikely event that either the U.S. or Canada finishes second in its group, and the two North American powers play a semifinal.

The U.S. is undefeated in Olympic qualifying history, since the tournament format began in 2004 — 15-0 with a goal differential of 88-1 (not counting matches played once they’ve already clinched qualification). The lone goal allowed came in a group-stage match in 2008, when the U.S. was already assured a spot in the semifinals.

Still, the U.S. knows the feeling of one poor outing in an important match. In 2010, it lost to Mexico in a winner-to-the-World Cup match. The U.S. was forced to win a last-chance, home-and-home playoff against a UEFA team — Italy — for the last spot in the World Cup.

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