Four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome to lead Israeli cycling team

Israel Start-Up Nation team says British rider will sign contract to take him through to the end of his professional career

British cyclist Chris Froome rides during Team Sky presentation in Jerusalem, May 3, 2018 (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
British cyclist Chris Froome rides during Team Sky presentation in Jerusalem, May 3, 2018 (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome will lead the Israel Start-Up Nation (ISN) cycling team, it was announced on Thursday.

The team said in a statement that the British cyclist will sign a long-term contract on August 1 that is expected to take him to the end of his professional cycling career.

The statement came after Team Ineos announced Froome would leave at the end of the season when his contract comes to an end.

Froome, 35, first won the Tour de France in 2013, going on to dominate cycling’s leading race for the three years from 2015 in the colors of Team Sky, which became Team Ineos last year.

“I’m really excited to be joining the ISN family. I look forward to challenging and being challenged by their talent and continuing to strive for the success that I’ve enjoyed up to now,” Froome said. “ISN’s impact on the sport is rapidly expanding, and I’m energized to be along for the ride. I feel we can achieve great things together.”

British cyclist Chris Froome in action during time trials at the start of 2018 Giro d’Italia, Tour of Italy cycling race in Jerusalem, May 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

The team’s manager said that Froome’s arrival was a sign that ISN was becoming a serious global contender in the sport.

“We have been looking to strengthen the team for 2021 in several ways, not least of which is to become Grand Tour contenders,” said Kjell Carlstrom. “With his impressive achievements, Chris Froome is the perfect leader to mark our arrival as a serious contender for these races, particularly the Tour de France. Chris’ career has been extraordinary, and we believe that he has both the mindset and physical talents to win more Grand Tours with us, while also acting as a mentor to our young talents, helping them succeed.”

Froome was seriously injured when he crashed at the Criterium de Dauphine in 2019 and was forced to miss the Tour de France.

After winning the Vuelta a Espana in 2017 and the Giro d’Italia in 2018, which included a leg in Israel, he held all three Grand Tours but his star has since waned.

Froome’s teammate Geraint Thomas emerged as the 2018 winner of the Tour de France while Ineos protege Egan Bernal claimed the 2019 title.

Earlier this year, the ISN team got briefly locked down in the UAE when a race was abandoned after two cyclists tested positive for the coronavirus. The group of Israeli cyclists were the first from the Jewish state to take part in the event.

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