Chris Froome is set to return to action next month in his first appearance since a horror crash at the Criterium du Dauphine in June.
The four-time Tour de France winner has been named among the starters for the Saitama Criterium in Japan on October 27, alongside Ineos team-mate Egan Bernal, winner of this year’s Tour.
The event is effectively an end-of-season exhibition race – staged by Tour organisers ASO – but although it marks a return to competition in only the loosest terms for Froome, it is still a highly-significant step given the extent of the injuries he suffered only three months ago.
The 34-year-old sustained a fractured femur, fractured elbow and fractured ribs after hitting a wall at high speed during a recon ride of the time trial course at the Criterium du Dauphine, a race he was using to prepare for the Tour de France.
Froome was not expected to be back in any sort of event until 2020 but after being seen on a bike again training in late August, he is now ready to take the next step in his bid to get back in form in time for next year’s Tour.
This year’s start list also includes the Tour’s King of the Mountains Romain Bardet, Tour stage winners Matteo Trentin, Daryl Impey, Omar Fraile and Lilian Calmejane, and Alejandro Valverde, who will be defending his world title in Yorkshire this weekend.