Chris Froome would want us to keep fighting for the Dauphine and Tour de France, says Knaven

From optimism to despair to hope within just 24 hours: cycling has a cruel way of robbing opportunity from one rider and presenting another with the chance to succeed.

Yesterday, Chris Froome set out for his recon of the stage 4 time trial at the Critérium du Dauphiné with a smile on his face but within a few hours it was confirmed that he was out of the race, out of the Tour de France, and on his way to the operating theatre having suffered multiple fractures and internal injuries. He is now conscious and setting his sights on rehabilitation but his season is over, and his quest for a fifth Tour de France title shelved.

That loss hit Team Ineos hard. Dave Brailsford was visibly shocked and upset when he met the media hours after the news was declared, and again on Thursday morning, ahead of stage 5 of the Dauphiné.

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But time waits for no one, and Brailsford and the rest of the backroom staff will now have to set a new course if they are to win another Tour de France title in 2019. Froome, of course, was never a certainty for victory but his loss punches a hole straight through the squad’s heart. Last year’s winner Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal will surely shoulder the responsibility of leadership, although the team’s directeur sportif Servais Knaven cooled any speculation that the pair’s upcoming outing at the Tour de Suisse would offer a final call in determining leadership come July.

“We’ve not made any final decisions on that. The strongest rider from the past isn’t with us this year. We have Egan and we have Geraint and they’re both getting ready in the Tour de Suisse. Let’s see where they are. We still have two strong leaders in the team. Of course, it’s different, Geraint proved that he can win a Grand Tour. If he’s at the same level as last year then we’ll be in a good place,” Knaven told Cyclingnews.

“Test is the wrong word,” he said when asked about the relevance of Suisse.

The Dauphine continues

You can read more at Cyclingnews.com