Chris Froome has admitted he is lucky to be alive following a high speed crash during a training ride.
The British rider was training before stage four of the Criterium du Dauphine event in France, less than a month before the start of the Tour de France, which Froome has won four times.
The 34-year-old was put into intensive care following the accident after suffering a broken neck, a broken femur, a broken hip, a fractured elbow and fractured ribs, while losing four pints of blood.
Froome collided with a wall having attempted to blow his nose while cycling at 54kph.
In a statement on the Team Ineos website Froome explained his pride at receiving support since his crash.
He said: “Firstly, I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has sent their best wishes to me since the crash.
“This is obviously a tough time but I have taken a lot of strength from the support over the last three days. The outpouring of support has been really humbling and something I would never have expected.
“I’d also like to extend my gratitude to the team, especially Doctor Richard Usher and his medical staff, who have been exemplary since the crash.
“In addition, I am so thankful to the emergency services and everyone at Roanne Hospital who assisted and stabilised me, as well as the surgeons, doctors and nurses at the University Hospital of St Etienne, who have really gone above and beyond the call of duty, for which I am ever so grateful.”
Froome was hoping to clinch a record equalling fifth Tour de France victory and described the crash a ‘set back.’ He explained: “I know how lucky I am to be here today and how much I owe to all the paramedics and medical staff on the race.
“Whilst this is a setback and a major one at that, I am focusing on looking forward. There is a long road to recovery ahead, but that recovery starts now and I am fully focused on returning back to my best.
“Finally, I want to thank my wife Michelle and my family. They’ve been with me every step of the way and their love and support will motivate me to return as quickly as possible.”
The Kenya-born Britain is expected to be in hospital for six weeks and may not return to any form of cycling for six months.
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