Chris Froome has undergone successful surgery to remove metalwork from his hip and elbow as he continues his recovery from several serious injuries.

Four-time Tour de France champion Froome has been out of action since June, after he sustained a fractured right femur, a fractured elbow and fractured ribs in a crash on a training run for the Criterium du Dauphine.

The 34-year-old underwent emergency surgery in France before beginning his recovery, with Team INEOS providing a video update on Froome's progress in August.

Froome, who is hopeful of participating in the 2020 Tour de France, confirmed on social media in September that he was back on the road, subsequently taking part in the time trial event at the Saitama Criterium, alongside team-mate and 2019 Le Tour champion Egan Bernal.

On Friday, Froome provided a further update, revealing he has had the surgery required to remove the metalwork from his body had been a success.

"Less (sic) some hardware from my hip and elbow," Froome tweeted. "Feeling groggy but all went perfectly."

Chris Froome has described next year's Tour de France route as "brutal" after organisers revealed details of the race on Tuesday.

With five mountain ranges and only one time trial - on the penultimate stage - the course would seem to suit climbers such as French riders Thibaut Pinot and Julian Alaphilippe, as well as Egan Bernal, Froome's Team INEOS colleague and the reigning champion.

Froome, who missed the 2019 Tour having suffered fractures to his femur, elbow and ribs in June, noted how tough the 21-stage course was for 2020 while admitting it should suit most of the challengers for the yellow jersey.

"It's a brutal, brutal course, but good," said four-time Tour de France champion Froome.

"I think it's going to be a really explosive race and very much in favour of the [best climbers of] mountains. But I think that's great, it gives a lot of opportunities for the general classification to be played out.

"That's what everyone wants to see, everyone wants to see a big battle between the rivals.

"For the riders as well, I think it's great because it gives a lot of opportunities to try to make the race and to try to win."

In Froome's absence last year, defending champion Geraint Thomas was expected to be INEOS' lead rider, but it was Bernal who surprisingly emerged to claim a first title.

The team could have three Tour champions on the line at the Grand Depart in Nice next June, yet Froome is more concerned with focusing on his fitness before considering his leadership credentials.

"We've got an amazing line-up, an amazing roster of riders to select from, but nothing is decided yet," Froome said.

"I have obviously to get myself back to that level before even discussing leadership or anything like that.

"At least for now everything is going in the right direction, I'm optimistic."

Cycling's top climbers appeared to receive a major lift after a mountainous route for the 2020 Tour de France was revealed on Tuesday.

Riders will be go through the five mountain ranges of the Alps, Pyrenees, Vosges, Jura and Massif Central after the Grand Depart in Nice on June 27.

They will visit three of France's mountain ranges in the first eight days and will be climbing from as early as day two, with the only time trial coming on the last competitive stage from Lure to La Planche des Belles Filles before the ceremonial ride into Paris.

There will be no return to the Alpe d'Huez or Mont Ventoux, but the Col de la Madeleine and the Grand Colombier will be tackled.

The route should suit Thibaut Pinot and Julian Alaphilippe when they attempt to end a long wait for a French rider to win the most prestigious Grand Tour race, which was won by Egan Bernal this year.

Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme said: "There are 29 mountains, it will be physically challenging throughout.

"Even the so-called flat stages will be very tough for the pure sprinters. There are traps everywhere along the route."

 

Route for the 2020 Tour de France

June 27 - Stage 1: Nice - Nice (156km)

June 28 - Stage 2: Nice - Nice (187km)

June 29 - Stage 3: Nice - Sisteron (198km)

June 30 - Stage 4: Sisteron - Orcieres-Merlette (157km)

July 1 - Stage 5: Gap - Privas (183km)

July 2 - Stage 6: Le Teil - Mont Aigoual (191km)

July 3 - Stage 7: Millau - Lavaur (168km)

July 4 - Stage 8: Cazeres-sur-Garonne - Loudenvielle (140km)

July 5 - Stage 9: Pau - Laruns (154km)

July 6 - Rest day in Charente-Maritime

July 7 - Stage 10: Ile d'Oleron - Ile de Re (170km)

July 8 - Stage 11: Chatelaillon-Plage - Poitiers (167km)

July 9 - Stage 12: Chauvigny - Sarran (218km)

July 10 - Stage 13: Chatel-Guyon - Puy Mary (191km)

July 11 - Stage 14: Clermont-Ferrand - Lyon (197km)

July 12 - Stage 15: Lyon - Grand Colombier (175km)

July 13 - Rest day in Isere

July 14 - Stage 16: La Tour-du-Pin - Villard-de-Lans (164km)

July 15 - Stage 17: Grenoble - Meribel (168km)

July 16 - Stage 18: Meribel - La Roche-sur-Foron (168km)

July 17 - Stage 19: Bourg-en-Bresse - Champagnole (160km)

July 18 - Stage 20: Lure - La Planche des Belles Filles (36km individual time trial)

July 19 - Stage 21: Mantes-la-Jolie - Paris (122km)

Chris Froome can see "light at the end of the tunnel" as he prepares for a return to competitive cycling, while a former team-mate has tipped him to win the Tour de France again in 2020.

Team INEOS rider Froome is back in the saddle again after sustaining fractures to his right femur, elbow and ribs during a high-speed crash in June at the Criterium du Dauphine. 

The 34-year-old, a four-time winner of the Tour de France, has posted training pictures on Twitter, including a black-and-white shot on Monday that was taken by Team INEOS colleague Michal Kwiatkowski.

"There is light at the end of the tunnel," wrote Froome, who is scheduled to make his racing comeback at the Saitama Criterium exhibition event in October.

A record-equalling fifth Tour de France title is the long-term target, as confirmed in a video interview released in August by Team INEOS.

And Bradley Wiggins is confident Froome can draw level with Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain at the top of the list by triumphing in Le Tour next year.

"Nothing would surprise me with him," he said on 'The Bradley Wiggins Show' podcast. "I think he will win the Tour next year.

"He is an amazing athlete and the drive he has got, I think he almost needed something like this to drive him and push him on."

Marcel Kittel has retired from professional cycling at the age of 31.

German sprinter Kittel left Team Katusha Alpecin in May to take a break from cycling, citing exhaustion as his reason.

The 19-time Grand Tour stage winner has now confirmed he will not be returning to the sport, insisting he no longer wishes to go through the pain required to compete at the top level.

In a post on his official website, Kittel, who is expecting to become a father in November, said: "This decision process has not been a quick one, but has taken place over a longer time.

"During my nearly 20-year sports career there have been not only incredible successes but also difficult times.

"I have always been one to openly question and reflect when such things happen, so that I can learn and become better. That, together with the people around me, has made me the successful athlete that I now am, but this method has also taught to leave my old ways and learn new ones.

"I know there is much more than just sport, for example my own future family.

"Recently the thought on this future without cycling has grown, as has the awareness of the sacrifices that such a beautiful but also very difficult sport like cycling brings with it.

"The biggest question of the last few months was: Can I and do I want to continue to make the sacrifices needed to be a world-class athlete? And my answer is no, I do not want that anymore, because I have always found the limitations on a top athlete as an increasing loss of quality of life.

"That is why I am very happy and proud that at this point in my life I can make the decision to follow my heart in a new direction."

Kittel enjoyed the last of his 14 Tour de France stage victories in 2017 and also has four stage victories at the Giro d'Italia and one in the Vuelta a Espana.

Italy bid a final farewell to five-time Grand Tour winner Felice Gimondi on Tuesday as his funeral took place in Paladina, near Bergamo.

Gimondi died on Friday at the age of 76. He enjoyed a glittering career that included winning the Tour de France in 1965 in his first year as a professional.

He also claimed the general classification title three times at his home Grand Tour, the Giro d'Italia, and once at the Vuelta a Espana.

Just seven cyclists have won all three events and Gimondi became the second to do so after Jacques Anquetil.

Local media estimated around 2,000 mourners travelled to pay tribute to Gimondi, with some arriving on bicycles.

The funeral was broadcast live on television in Italy and attended by several of Gimondi's peers, according to the newspaper L'Eco di Bergamo, including fellow former Giro winners Franco Balmamion and Gianni Motta.

Paolo Savoldelli, who won the Giro in 2002 and 2005, was also among the mourners, as was 1984 Giro champion Francesco Moser and Giuseppe Saronni, who took the title in 1979 and 1983.

Pastor Monsignor Mansueto Callioni told mourners, according to Gazzetta Dello Sport: "We need to remember to thank him for his victories that instilled courage and pride. [And] for his defeats. He taught us to always fight because in life you can't always win."

Five-time Grand Tour winner Felice Gimondi has died aged 76.

Italian authorities confirmed to Omnisport that Gimondi had passed away in Taormina on Friday.

The cycling great enjoyed a glittering career that included winning the General Classification at the Tour de France in 1965 in his first year as a professional.

Gimondi also claimed the GC title three times at his home Grand Tour, the Giro d'Italia, and once at the Vuelta a Espana.

He is one of just seven cyclists to have won all three events and became the second to do so after Jacques Anquetil.

There were also 14 individual stage wins in Grand Tours, while Gimondi triumphed in the 1973 World Road Race Championships.

Egan Bernal is still struggling to believe he won the Tour de France after being afforded a hero's welcome in his hometown.

The 22-year-old became the first Colombian to win the most prestigious Grand Tour race last month.

Team INEOS rider Bernal went down as the youngest Tour champion for 110 years following a climbing masterclass in the Alps.

A big crowd packed the streets of Zipaquira on Wednesday to show their appreciation for Bernal, who donned his yellow jersey and rode his bike as he waved to fans who congregated in central square.

He told those who turned out to greet him: "A few years ago if someone had come here and told me that I was going to win the Tour de France, I would not have believed it. So everything that is done with love I think can be achieved.

"I was a child who dreamed of riding a bicycle, of going out to ride with my friends and little by little it became my job, but it was all because of that, because I love to ride a bicycle."

Chris Froome's only target as he continues to recover from serious injuries suffered during the Criterium de Dauphine is to take part in the 2020 Tour de France.

Four-time champion Froome sustained fractures to his right femur, elbow and ribs during a high-speed crash in June.

The Team INEOS rider was immediately ruled out of the Tour de France, which was won by his team-mate Egan Bernal.

In his first interview since the crash, Froome - who has been doing up to six hours of physio work per day following surgery and believes he is "incredibly lucky" - outlined his desire to return in time for next season's Grand Depart, saying messages of support he has received only motivate him further.

"Throughout the Tour de France, people [were] standing on the side of mountains, holding 'get well' messages for me," Froome said in a video released by Team INEOS.

"It has been amazing and really motivational for me to see how much I've been missed and motivating me to want to get back there in the future.

"The only goal I have is to get back to the Tour de France next year. The underlying goal is to get to the start of the Tour in 2020 and to be in a similar or better position than I was this year. That's what is driving me at the moment.

"As soon as my injuries were fully explained to me – that's when I took onboard the full extent of them. I could barely even breathe after my surgery because of the damage, my broken ribs and sternum.

"I was coughing up blood and had to be helped to breathe. It was scary after the operation, and just felt how hopeless I was lying in the bed. That was hard to come to terms to.

"The news from the surgeon when he told me I could make a 100 per cent recovery was all I wanted to hear, and from that point on everything was so positive. I was incredibly lucky not to have been more seriously injured."

Froome suffered the injuries while on a recon ride ahead of a time trial in the Criterium, and revealed he has little recollection of the crash.

"It was a really gusty day, but I was excited about the race, testing out my legs ahead of the Tour and showing where I was at form-wise, and it was the first big test for me," said Froome, who missed this year's Giro d'Italia in order to prepare for the Tour de France.

"Basically, what I understand is there was a perfectly straight bit of road, slightly downhill so I was going at a fair bit of speed and I went to go and clear my nostrils and I was also going past some buildings at the same time.

"The wind funnelled through those buildings and took my front wheel. I tried to hold it up and ended up veering off the road into a wall at high speed. I think it was just one of those freak accidents.

"I think one of my first questions was, 'Am I going to be alright for the Tour?' and they very quickly put that out of my mind. In those first moments was when I really took onboard that I wasn't going to be racing in the Tour de France, it really hit home."

Egan Bernal made Tour de France history on Sunday as he became the first Colombian to win the yellow jersey.

Bernal's victory was effectively sealed on a penultimate stage shortened to 59.5 kilometres due to weather concerns, having moved into the lead when stage 19 was brought to a premature end in the Alps due to a hail storm and severe mudslides on the descent of the Col de l'Iseran.

It marked a bizarre end to a thrilling race, with Bernal able to take in his achievement on the processional final stage to Paris, on which he was congratulated by team-mate and 2018 champion Geraint Thomas as they crossed the line on the Champs-Elysees to seal a one-two finish.

As INEOS celebrates yet another Tour win, we look at some of the best Opta facts from a race that will live long in the memory.

 

BERNAL TRIUMPHS IN TIGHTEST TOUR

- Egan Bernal is the first Colombian rider to win the Tour de France and at 22 years, 6 months and 15 days old, he is the third-youngest winner of the race after Henri Cornet (1904) and Francois Faber (1909).

- With a difference between the winner (Bernal) and third place (Steven Kruijswijk) of 1'33", this is the tightest podium in the history of the Tour de France.

- Bernal is the third Colombian rider to win a Grand Tour after Nairo Quintana (Giro d'Italia 2014 and Vuelta a Espana 2016) and Lucho Herrera (Vuelta a Espana 1987).

- There has been a Colombian rider on the podium in five of the last seven Tour de France editions (Bernal 1st in 2019, Rigoberto Uran 2nd in 2017 and Nairo Quintana 3rd in 2016, 2nd in 2015 and 2nd in 2013).

- Bernal has become the fifth rider to have won both the General Classification and the Young Rider Classification in the same edition of the Tour de France after Laurent Fignon in 1983, Jan Ullrich in 1997, Alberto Contador in 2007 and Andy Schleck in 2010.


INEOS IN CONTROL

- A Team INEOS rider (previously Team Sky) has won in seven of the last eight Tour de France editions (Bradley Wiggins 2012; Chris Froome 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017; Geraint Thomas 2018 and Egan Bernal 2019). No other trade team has won this race with four different riders.

- It is the second time that two riders of Team INEOS have been on the first two positions of the General Classification (Egan Bernal and Geraint Thomas). The first time was in 2012 with Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome.

- British riders have finished on the podium in six of the last seven Tour de France editions, only failing to do so in 2014.


SUPER SAGAN

- Peter Sagan won the Points Classification for a record seventh time, something that nobody has done before in the Tour de France (Erik Zabel, 6).

- The Slovak has won the Points Classification at the Tour de France in seven of the last eight years (DSQ in 2017).

- Sagan has recorded at least one stage win in six of his last eight Tour de France appearances, only failing to do so in 2014 and 2015.


ALAPHILIPPE EMULATES HINAULT

- Julian Alaphilippe wore the yellow jersey for 14 stages in this year’s Tour de France, it was 34 years since a French rider had done this (Bernard Hinault, 17 stages in 1985).

- Three different French riders (Warren Barguil, 2017; Julian Alaphilippe, 2018 and Romain Bardet, 2019) have won the Mountain Classification of the Tour de France in three consecutive years for first time since it was established in 1933.

- Thibaut Pinot has abandoned the race in four of his seven Tour de France appearances.

- Romain Bardet won the Mountain Classification for the first time after seven Tour de France appearances.

Egan Bernal said he is "the happiest man in the world" after he was crowned the first Colombian Tour de France champion.

Bernal made history on a glorious Sunday evening in Paris, becoming the youngest rider to win the Tour for 110 years at the age of 22.

The Team INEOS rider was congratulated by defending champion and colleague Geraint Thomas as they crossed the line to seal a one-two on the Champs-Elysees, where Caleb Ewan sprinted to a final-stage victory.

Bernal is the third-youngest to win the most prestigious Grand Tour race and embraced his family in emotional scenes before taking to the top step of the podium, watched on by ecstatic Colombians in the French capital.

"I think I should say thank you to all my team, thank you G [Thomas] for the opportunity and all the team for the support and belief in me," said Bernal, who gave an acceptance speech in English, French, Spanish and Italian.

"Today I am the happiest man in the world, I just won the Tour de France and I cannot believe it."

"Today I am the most happy guy in the world. I just won the Tour de France. I can’t believe it" - @Eganbernal pic.twitter.com/XKb8CQq9of

— Team INEOS (@TeamINEOS) July 28, 2019

Bernal stated before taking to the podium: "It's incredible; I don't know what to say. I've won the Tour, but I don't believe it. I need a couple of days to assimilate all this. It's for my family, and I just want to hug them.

"It's a feeling of happiness that I don't know how to describe. This is the first Tour for us Colombians. Many Colombians have tried before; we've had great cyclists in the past.

"But I'm the first one to win the Tour. Colombia deserves it."

Egan Bernal made history by becoming the first Colombian to win the Tour de France in Paris on Sunday.

The 22-year-old all but claimed the title in the ski resort of Val Thorens on Saturday, crossing the line in fourth alongside Geraint Thomas to put Team INEOS on the brink of a one-two.

Bernal completed the formality of becoming the youngest Tour winner for 110 years by finishing the 128-kilometre procession from Rambouillet to the capital after sampling the customary glass of champagne soon after setting off.

Caleb Ewan sprinted to a victory on the Champs-Elysees, having vowed to accomplish that feat when he visited Paris for the first time at the age of 17.

The Australian's rapid final burst on a glorious evening earned him a third stage success of the race ahead of Dylan Groenewegen and Niccolo Bonifazio.

Bernal crossed the line soon after with 2018 champion and colleague Thomas, becoming the only rider to win the Paris-Nice, Tour de Suisse and Tour de France in the same year.

The brilliant Bernal is the third-youngest champion in the most prestigious Grand Tour, having taken the yellow jersey off long-time leader and home hope Julian Alaphilippe in dramatic fashion in the Alps.

Bernal's aggressive climb of the Col de l'Iseran proved to be decisive, with stage 19 cut short on the descent due to hailstorms and mudslides on Friday.

That gave Bernal the lead and he retained it after a penultimate stage to Val Thorens that was shortened due to concerns over the weather, going on to take the title by a margin of 71 seconds over Thomas.

Alaphilippe finished back in fifth in the general classification, with Steven Kruijswijk third and Emanuel Buchmann fourth.

Deceuninck-Quick Step rider Alaphilippe was unable to end the 34-year wait for a home winner of the Tour but was named the most combative rider after spending 14 days in yellow.

 

STAGE RESULT

1. Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) 3:04:08
2. Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma)
3. Niccolo Bonifazio (Total Direct Energie)
4. Maximiliano Richeze (Deceuninck-Quick Step)
5. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data)

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Egan Bernal (Team INEOS) 82:57:00
2. Geraint Thomas (Team INEOS) +1:11
3. Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) +1:31

Points Classification

1. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 316
2. Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) 248
3. Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-Quick Step) 224

King of the Mountains

1. Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) 86
2. Egan Bernal (Team INEOS) 78
3. Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) 75

Egan Bernal made history by becoming the first Colombian to win the Tour de France in Paris on Sunday.

The 22-year-old all but claimed the title in the ski resort of Val Thorens on Saturday, crossing the line in fourth alongside Geraint Thomas to put Team INEOS on the brink of a one-two.

Bernal completed the formality of becoming the youngest Tour winner for 110 years by finishing the 128-kilometre procession from Rambouillet to the capital after sampling the customary glass of champagne soon after setting off.

Egan Bernal could surely not have envisaged that being ruled out of the Giro d'Italia in May might have been the greatest blessing in disguise he will ever have.

The 22-year-old had been primed to lead Team INEOS in the first Grand Tour of the year, but a broken collarbone denied him that opportunity.

Team INEOS sport director Nico Portal stated it would be unlikely Bernal would spearhead their challenge in both the Giro and the Tour de France before the injury blow he suffered in a training ride.

Bernal recovered from surgery and was named as joint-leader alongside defending champion Geraint Thomas for the most prestigious cycling event in the world after a horror crash put paid to Chris Froome's hopes of winning the Tour for a record-equalling fifth time.

The Zipaquira native now stands on the brink of becoming the first Colombian to win the Tour in Paris on Sunday, having already claimed Tour de Suisse and Paris–Nice titles this year.

For much of the race, the host nation were dreaming of a first French winner of the Tour in 34 years with Julian Alaphilippe a long-time leader and Thibaut Pinot firmly in contention.

Yet it was all change after a freak Friday in the Alps, where a hailstorm and mudslides brought stage 19 to a dramatic, premature end.

It was not only the extreme weather conditions that had made their mark on the stunning mountains, as Bernal showcased his climbing skills up the daunting Col de l'Iseran in what is set to be a decisive show of aggression.

He took the yellow jersey from Alaphilippe for the first time as a result of that bold move and it was still on his back after a long, gruelling climb to Val Thorens at the end of stage 20 - shortened due to concerns over the weather on Saturday.

Bernal and Thomas are poised to celebrate a one-two in the Champs-Elysees, where Alaphilippe is set to finish fifth with Pinot out due to a thigh injury.

Described by Team Sky as a "next generation general classification threat" when he signed two years ago, Bernal has delivered in the first Tour since INEOS' takeover of the dominant team.

He may have spoiled a potential Paris party, but there will be euphoric scenes throughout Colombia to toast a sensation who is on the verge of becoming the third-youngest Tour champion and the youngest for 110 years.

There may be lasting scars, but the pain of Bernal's pre-Giro training smash will be a distant memory when he cruises into the French capital.

Julian Alaphilippe insisted he was not frustrated about finishing fifth in the Tour de France despite leading the race for 14 days.

The 27-year-old Deceuninck-Quick Step rider took the overall lead in stage three and held the yellow jersey for two weeks in total, though he relinquished it to Giulio Ciccone for two days in the opening week.

Alaphilippe remained in charge in the latter stages but began to show signs of weakness in the Alps, just about staying ahead of eventual winner Egan Bernal at the end of stage 18.

Bernal took the lead when the 19th stage was cut short due to hail and mudslides and Alaphilippe lost further ground on the final competitive day on Saturday, slipping from second to fifth on the climb to Val Thorens.

Despite falling agonisingly short of becoming the first Frenchman to win the Tour since 1985, Alaphilippe refused to give in to negative thoughts.

"Why should I be frustrated?" he said. "I'm just exhausted, happy, proud of what I did, what we did with the team that wasn't the best equipped to win. We've had some great times.

"In my career, it will have changed a lot of things. It's just sport, moments of life you have to enjoy. It's nice.

"I gave it my all. I think it was hard to do better. I was expecting to explode at some point, but I still maintained well.

"I'm very proud of what my team-mate Enric Mas did for me, it was his job and he did it really well. Without him, I would've finished at a quarter-of-an-hour I think. That's my temperament. With me, it's a bit all or nothing.

"I was second overall before the stage this morning. If I was second, or fifth, it was the same for me, but I fought because I didn't want to have any regrets.

"I can only be proud of my Tour. It's even way beyond what I would have imagined."

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