PARIS - Four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome has undergone a successful four-hour operation following a devastating crash and could be back racing in six months, his surgeon said Thursday.
Froome was airlifted to a hospital in Saint-Etienne for emergency surgery after slamming into a wall at high speed during practice on Wednesday ahead of the fourth stage of the Criterium du Dauphine race in central France.
The force of the impact fractured his pelvis, right femur, and left him with broken ribs and a broken right elbow.
“The operation was long, almost four hours, but it went very, very well,” said Remi Philippot, chief surgeon for sports trauma at Saint-Etienne hospital.
Team Ineos’ doctor Richard Usher echoed Philippot’s comments through a statement issued by the outfit owned by British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe.
“First things first, the surgery was a success. The operation went very well,” he said.
“Chris will remain in hospital for the next few days for observation, but he is already actively engaging in discussing his rehabilitation options, which is very encouraging,” Usher added.
Froome received further positive news as he stands to be handed the 2011 Vuelta a Espana title after original winner Juan Cobo was found guilty of an anti-doping rule violation and could be stripped of victory, the International Cycling Union said.
Philippot said the good news was the high-impact crash had caused no neurological or head trauma and he expected Froome would be back in the saddle in six months.
“The impact was at around 50 kph, with very little body protection, causing a high-energy impact,” said Philippot, who spoke to Froome Thursday morning for one hour.
“Chris Froome has the morale of a winner and is very rapidly bouncing back.
“He started asking immediately when he could get back on his bike. He should be back racing in about six months,” said Philippot.