Chris Froome (Israel Start-Up Nation) has today announced that he has invested in American company Hammerhead, makers of the Karoo 2 cycling computer.
Both Froome and Hammerhead were coy on sharing details about the size of his investment and his share in the company, but it is confirmed that the Briton would join the company's advisory board, attend quarterly meetings and help with decisions on future technologies.
Speaking ahead of the announcement from his Tenerife training camp, Froome alluded to life after his cycling career as a motivator for the decision.
"I recognise I'm in the latter part of my career," the four-time Tour de France winner explained. "I've always said that I'd love to be involved in cycling, even beyond my career.
"It's super interesting for me to be involved in quarterly board meetings and just to understand more about the ins and outs of how a company like Hammerhead works. I've spent my career riding a bike and it's quite cool to see what happens behind the scenes of a company like Hammerhead".
He joins a long list of investors that make up a recent $14m round of funding, including the CEO of Zipp, a co-founder of MapMyFitness and various venture capitalist firms.
Froome has been using the Hammerhead Karoo 2 computer since the a year-long deal was struck between the company and Froome's Israel Start-Up Nation team early this year but there's more to this relationship than merely that of a sponsorship agreement. Froome and Hammerhead founder/CEO, Pieter Morgan, attended St John's College in Johannesburg, South Africa, and have remained friends ever since and may very well have been a contributing factor to sealing the deal.
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"The Hammerhead Karoo 2 computer has been vital in getting me back to full fitness," he explained, before giving an example of how the computer has helped. "Knowing that my right leg was the weaker side, I'd go out and do intervals, specifically to force myself to use the right leg more than the left. The right leg has to work to at least 70 or 75% of the work, giving a free ride to the dominant leg."
Initially, the Karoo 2 computer didn't supply left-right balance in real-time, but the brand implemented it at Froome's request.
"Obviously if I wasn't able to have that left-right balance in real-time, that kind of effort would just be guesswork. So I'm super thankful to the guys over at Hammerhead for rolling that out already in January, that was a huge help for me".
However, despite admitting he was thinking ahead to life after cycling, the Briton says he's far from down and out. After recently hitting back at critics who say his career is over, Froome provided a deeper insight into his current state of fitness.
"I can say now that I'm within a measurement error of half a per cent of where I was pre-crash in terms of left-right [balance].
"On the longer stuff I'm back to where I need to be, so the hour-long efforts I'm definitely where I need to be in terms of the fitness that's needed. Where I'm still a bit behind is the more explosive stuff, the really high end, which comes from a lack of racing. So sprinting out of corners, accelerations in the bunch, that's where I'm still battling quite a bit at the moment.
"We're doing a lot of high intensity here in Tenerife at the moment, so hopefully that will help to put me a bit closer to where I need to be in the coming months."
Despite Froome's newfound involvement with the company, there is not yet an agreement to extend the company's sponsorship of Israel Start-Up Nation beyond 2021.
"We haven't actually had conversations beyond this year yet, but I'm sure it will," explained Head of Marketing for Hammerhead, Ross McGraw.
Froome himself is contracted with the team in a 'long term contract', understood to be five years, which would see the 36-year-old continue at the team until 2024.
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