10 transfer targets to help Chris Froome win the 2021 Tour de France

The announcement of Team Ineos leader Chris Froome's somewhat expected – and yet somehow surprising – move to Israel Start-Up Nation for the 2021 season means that the Israeli WorldTour squad now needs to set about building a team capable of supporting Froome in trying to win what will be either his fifth or sixth Tour de France in 2021.

That number will depend on whether Froome can win this summer's Tour – if he even gets selected by his current team – but, either way, he's going to need a whole new squad of capable climbers and loyal domestiques built around him for when he takes on La Grande Boucle next July in his new team colours.

Here, we take a look at 10 riders that could be capable of giving Froome the support he'll need.

Richie Porte

Current team: Trek Segafredo

Possible role: Mountain domestique

The word on the street was that Porte could be heading back to Team Ineos, a full five years after branching out at BMC Racing and then Trek-Segafredo. At 35, the Australian has a couple of years left in the tank, but he wouldn't necessarily need to tone down his ambitions if a transfer to Israel Start-Up Nation moved forward.

Froome would lead for the Tour but Porte could take his pick from the remaining Grand Tours and lead in several week-long events. He certainly wouldn't have any such luxuries at Ineos. Getting the band back together doesn't always work – not all back catalogues stand the test of time – but for old time's sake, it would be entertaining to see Froome and Porte roll out some of their hits to an audience of Ineos riders at the Tour.

Simon Clarke

Current team: EF Pro Cycling

Possible role: Road captain

Another Australian rider, and a proven road captain who has plenty of Grand Tour experience that Froome could utilise. Israel Start-Up Nation have a soft underbelly when it comes to Grand Tours, and Clarke would bring direction and focus. If the team ends up signing a large quantity of new riders – they only have 12 riders contracted for next year – then they will need a rider on the road who can direct the action and call the shots.

They won't have a year to build relationships and bonds if the ultimate goal is to win the 2021 Tour, and so Clarke could be key. He's also more than just a mouthpiece for the team directors, and was absolutely flying until the lockdown in March.

Silvan Dillier

Silvan Dillier (AG2R La Mondiale)

Silvan Dillier (AG2R La Mondiale) (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Current team: AG2R La Mondiale

Possible role: Domestique

Dillier doesn't have any direct experience racing alongside Froome, but the four-time Tour de France winner should be well aware of the Swiss rider's talents. The AG2R La Mondiale rider is a valuable all-rounder who can ply his trade in almost any format of racing.

Israel Start-Up Nation could benefit from a rider who can switch seamlessly from one-day racing to Grand Tours, and, at 29, he still has plenty of decent years ahead of him.

Bob Jungels

Current team: Deceuninck-QuickStep

Possible role: Super domestique and Classics leader

While Deceuninck-QuickStep Patrick Lefevere is willfully haggling over Jungels' price in the media, there's an opportunity for ISN to swoop in and pick up yet another high-profile rider. Jungels is relatively young, despite his vast experience, and represents a longer-term future than Froome.

He also has a versatility that Froome lacks when it comes to the Classics, and with Nils Politt out of contract with ISN at the end of this year, the Luxembourg rider would be an upgrade, should the German head for pastures new.

Wilco Kelderman

Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb)

Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb) (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Current team: Sunweb

Possible role: Mountain domestique and Grand Tour plan B

Sam Oomen is definitely leaving Sunweb – of that there's no doubt – but the situation involving Kelderman isn't as clear cut as it appeared last month, when reports suggested he was following Oomen out of the door.

The Dutch rider is interested in leaving, but Jumbo-Visma don't have space and there's not a rush of teams looking for a 29-year-old who hasn't really kicked on since his fourth place at the Vuelta a España back in 2017. Kelderman is a class act, though. When fit and healthy, he's one of the strongest riders in the world, and would be an able ally for Froome in the mountains of a Grand Tour.

Gorka and Ion Izagirre

Current team: Astana

Possible role: Mountain domestiques

Ion and Gorka are out of contract with Astana at the end of the season, and both have already been linked with moves to Israel Start-Up Nation for 2021.

The pair tends to move every couple of seasons anyway, and they would certainly fit with the programme at the Israeli team. They can climb, are willing to work for others, and have the talent to step in and deliver results when called upon.

Ian Stannard

Ian Stannard (Team Ineos) leads the way at the 2020 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Ian Stannard (Team Ineos) leads the way at the 2020 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Current team: Team Ineos

Possible role: Domestique

Once a leading light in the Classics for Ineos, the British rider hasn't finished inside the top 10 in a race outside of the UK since 2017, while his Tour de France slot was usurped in 2016 by more versatile climbers as the team improved.

At 33, age is a minor question rather than a red flag, but Stannard would bring experience and the ability to protect a leader like Froome during the opening week of Tour de France. The fact is that Stannard is unlikely to race the Tour ever again if he closes his career out at Ineos, so if he has any desire of a return, he has to move.

Jan Polanc

Current team: UAE Team Emirates

Possible role: Domestique

Fabio Aru and Sergio Henao are both out of contract with UAE Team Emirates at the end of this year, and the Henao is destined to leave, but Jan Polanc is arguably a better option. He's younger, competitive and the sort of mountain domestique Ineos might have recruited a few years ago.

Tadej Pogačar might not want to see his countryman and teammate leave UAE, but Polanc is the sort of rider that will go under the radar in the transfer market, only for a savvy team boss to pick him up for a bargain.

Tanel Kangert

EF Pro Cycling’s Tanel Kangert

EF Pro Cycling’s Tanel Kangert (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Current team: EF Pro Cycling

Possible role: Domestique

Of other possible riders to join Froome, Tony Martin, Maximilian Schachmann, Tao Geoghegan Hart and Jack Haig are either too expensive or just not interested, and Brent Bookwalter and Roman Kreuziger are a bit too old. You need another climber, but the market is starting to look a little thin.

Step forward Tanel Kangert. He's 33, but one of the most underrated domestiques in the entire field. The reason you don't hear a lot about him is because he does his job quietly yet efficiently, and doesn't have a lot to say on social media. He must be a dream for most WorldTour managers. It looked as though his career was winding down at Astana before EF came in with an offer, and he's in line to make the Tour team this year after a solid ride in 2019.

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Daniel Benson

Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at Cyclingnews.com between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.