Brest (France) (AFP)
Chris Froome says he will help the leader of the Start-Up Nation of Israel, Michael Woods, in the same way he himself was helped when he won the Tour de France four times on his return after a two-year gap.
Froome suffered multiple injuries at the Criterium du Dauphine in 2019 and has since switched from Ineos to ISN, which included the Briton in their Tour squad in support of the fit Canadian squad.
“It’s great to be able to give something back, I just focus on supporting the guys around me. Similar work has been done for me before, and now I’m happy to be on the other side, to give something back, ”Froome said.
Although he said his team were hoping to put Woods at the top of the overall standings, Froome admitted the top favorites would be hard to beat.
“Tadej Pogacar isn’t slowing down, is he? Froome said of the defending champion.
“Primoz Roglic is really strong and has a good team around him while Inoes has several leaders,” said Froome.
The return of Froome to the race after two years of absence is of particular importance, he said as he embarks from the Atlantic port of Brest.
“Given that Brest was the place where I discovered the Tour de France as a neo-pro in 2008, the circle has come full circle.
“I’m going to head to this Tour with a similar mindset to my first one,” said Froome, who showed deep determination to get back on a Tour roster.
“I hope it will be a springboard for me to get back to my old level. It puts my recovery period behind me, ”he said.
“I missed being there. The first year I watched from a wheelchair I enjoyed being a fan again, I really enjoyed watching and being a fan. “
the winner in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017 said his team had many goals.
“I’m looking forward to the start and my key role is to help keep Woodsy out of trouble,” he said. “But winning a stage would be huge for ISN. “
ISN sporting director Rik Verbrugghe raised his eyebrows when he included Froome in his roster as the ex-champion sought form.
Verbrugghe raised doubts on Wednesday.
“I’m expecting something from Chris, he may surprise you in this Tour de France”,
Canadian team leader Woods said he believes the experience of Froome and Irishman Dan Martin will help him climb into the top five.
“I won a stage or I failed in the last two races in which I participated and I am delighted to lead this team. Chris (Froome) brings experience and Dan (Martin) won on the ‘Wall’ Brittany) which we tackle in the second stage.
“But it’s also an opportunity for me to represent Canada, so if I can win a stage and if it helps Canadians ride my bike, I’ll be a happy man. “
Israel Start-Up Nation is in its second season at the World Tour level and was co-founded by Israeli-Canadian real estate mogul and cycling enthusiast Sylvain Adams.
“The whole world is listening, it’s a symbol of accomplishment that we’ve done here for the Tour de France, and this year we’re hoping to make some noise,” Adams said by zoom call from Vancouver.
© 2021 AFP