Chris Froome (Israel Start-Up Nation) is back from a three-week high-altitude training camp on Mount Teide in Tenerife, which gave him “a big step forward” ahead of the Tour de France.
The four-time Tour winner has struggled to regain his form since returning to racing following the mid-2019 crash that threatened to end his career, but suggested he would be more competitive when he will line up at the Critérium du Dauphiné on Sunday.
In addition to continuing to work on muscle strength in his right leg – where he suffered a fractured femur almost two years ago – Froome has focused on another aspect of his Teide preparation: his weight.
“I arrived at this camp with 71 kilograms, after a few easy days and a few long flights. A lot of it will have been full glycogen stores and water retention, but I definitely had some weight to lose.” , Froome said in his last Youtube video.
Froome went on to explain how a particularly grueling day on the bike was designed to both increase fitness and lose weight.
“There were two main goals today, one to get good quality high intensity work, and then the second goal was to target some fat burning,” he said.
“We did a little over two hours of intensity in the six and a half hour trip, with efforts ranging from five minutes to 30 minutes. Then at the end of the trip, once we were empty of everyone intervals., we did another two hours basically just on the water. When you are already flat and tired and empty, continue for another two hours. It is very low intensity but here at 2000 meters you really feel it .
“We started the day with a full carbohydrate breakfast – probably 300 grams of rice and an egg white omelet also for protein. During the trip, supplement every 20 to 30 minutes with more carbohydrates – bananas, rice cakes, gels, energy bars, as well as carbohydrate drinks. It was the full carb option while doing the quality work, then backing up and ending the ride with a few low carb hours, just on the water, just to really engage that fat burning ability. . “
Froome explained that he usually ends a training day like this between 2kg and 2.5kg lighter than he started in the morning, but it wasn’t just fat burned and that glycogen stores should be replenished that evening.
Even so, he lost over two kilos in total by the end of camp, bringing him back to racing weight, although there is more to lose by the time the Tour de France begins in a month’s time.
“The goal was to get below 69kg and I’m there,” he said. “I’m really happy with the way it went. If I could lose a kilo before the Tour de France, that would be exactly where I want to be.”
“Reducing the weight has been a battle, it certainly isn’t easier the older you get. I have made progress but not as much as I hoped but I definitely feel better. I still have a few weeks to go until the Tour de France so hopefully I can keep crashing and make it to the Tour a little leaner than I am now. ”
Froome will line up at the Dauphiné, which will start on Sunday and last for eight days in the south-east of France. After that, he will return to altitude for another two-week training camp before the start of the Tour de France in Brittany on June 26.
“I really feel like this blockage at altitude had a big impact on me. I feel like I was able to take a big step up there,” Froome said.
“I certainly hope to be closer to where I need to be once I get into the race now than I was before this season.”
Froome concluded his video with another tongue-in-cheek dig at disc brakes.
He caused a stir by launching his YouTube channel earlier this year with a review of his new Factor bike at Israel Start-Up Nation, to scathingly talk about disc brakes. Technology has spread through the pro peloton over the past two years, but he pointed out that no one has yet ridden a bike with a disc brake to claim Grand Tour victory.
“It’s interesting to see yet another Grand Tour that will switch to rim brakes,” he said, referring to his former teammate Egan Bernal, who is leading the Giro d’Italia with two stages to go.
“I don’t think disc brakes have won a Grand Tour yet. I think the closest is Richie Porte, third in last year’s Tour de France. I really hope we see someone there- up soon on disc brakes. “