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Chris Froome’s discussed mid-season change to Israel Start-Up Nation will not happen now, with the only question now being whether the 35-year-old will participate in this year’s Tour de France for Team Ineos.
Froome is desperate to win what would be a fifth record title in September and is adamant that he is physically capable of doing so after a career-threatening accident 12 months ago.
However, with Ineos also having Egan Bernal and Geraint Thomas – the last two Tour winners – in their ranks, the British team has three potential leaders.
This is one of the reasons why Froome, who is in the final year of his contract, was so strongly linked to a mid-season change, Israel having understood that he had made a lucrative three-year offer for the winner of the grand round seven times. .
However, any move should have been sanctioned by the director of Ineos, Sir Dave Brailsford, and sources suggested The telegraph Brailsford prefers to leave Froome out of his Tour lineup if he thinks three leaders are going to be a problem rather than allowing him to join a rival team where it could potentially harm Ineos’ chances of winning the race.
It remains to be seen who Ineos selects for the Tour. Brailsford was extremely positive about Froome’s chances in an interview with The telegraph in April, saying he felt the coronavirus lag was really at the hands of the British pilot.
However, with no contract extension on Ineos’ table, and with Froome now almost sure to leave the team in 2021 and launch openly, it remains to be seen how their relationship could have been affected.
Bernal, the reigning champion and rising star, is certain to climb, which means that Froome or Thomas will have to give up and potentially refocus on another big tour if the team decides that three leaders are too many.