Chris Froome has reiterated his desire to target the Tour de France in 2021 and explained that changing teams from Ineos Grenadiers to Israel Start-Up Nation has given him a new lease of life, both physically and mentally.
Froome left Ineos Grenadiers at the end of 2020, after 11 years on the team and four Tour de France victories. In 2019 he was involved in a career-threatening crash at the Criterium du Dauphine and the 35-year-old used all of last year to find both fitness and form after a long lay-off.
He was unable to recapture the form that saw him at one point hold all three Grand Tour titles but remains confident that with another full winter of training and gym work under his belt he can challenge for honours in three-week races.
“My goals haven't changed, I want to get back to that top level,” he said in a video released by his 2021 team.
“I want to be fighting for victories at the Tour de France and other Grand Tours. I'm really looking forward to getting the 2021 season underway now and hopefully this is the start of what's going to be a long exciting successful partnership going forwards.”
According to Froome the move to Israel Start-Up Nation came after a conversation with the team’s general manager, Kjell Carlstrom. The pair rode together at Team Sky over a decade ago and after initial talks, the negotiations with the team’s owners quickly followed. Froome has signed a long-term deal with the team as well and states that he could remain at Israel Start-Up Nation beyond his time as a professional bike rider.
“So this is going to be my first season with Israel Start-Up Nation. It was a pretty big decision to make to join ISN. Kjell Carlstrom, a former teammate of mine and now the general manager at Israel Start-Up Nation, reached out and it didn't take long for me to have the first conversation with the team owner, Sylvan Adams and immediately there was this connection. His passion was clear to see.
"We agreed that joining ISN - this is something, a commitment, I'm not just going to make for a year or two, this is a commitment until the end of my career and potentially even beyond that. Part of me also feels that at the moment at my age, I'm 35, I'm coming back from a big injury, year after year with the same team, I've been - it's almost been copying and pasting every year, year on year, and changing teams at this point in my career is going to give me so much more I guess mental stimulation and motivation - it's a whole new change, it's a new project, a new chapter and it does feel quite rejuvenating for me.”
Froome has used the winter to relocate himself and his family to California. The move has seen him make use of the warmer weather and continue his rehabilitation before he eventually comes back to Europe to embark on his 2021 racing season.
“Towards the end of last year I came over here to the US to California to begin obviously preparing for the next season. Here we've got much better weather than over in Europe and I've been able to put the hours in on the road, but more importantly, I've been able to work at the Red Bull High Performance Centre. I've been focusing a lot this winter on really addressing some of those imbalances and weaknesses I've had from the injury. I'm feeling really optimistic about the upcoming season.”
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