On Monday it was announced that Michael Woods would lead Israel Start-Up Nation’s overall ambitions and target the yellow jersey in the race. However, less than 24 hours later the team confirmed that Froome would line up in Brest on June 26 as part of the eight-man squad.
“After two years away from the Tour de France I can’t wait to get back. It has been an arduous journey since my crash at the Critérium du Dauphiné in 2019, but this has been one of my biggest motivations”, Froome said in a statement released by his team on Tuesday.
“I’ve been working tirelessly to get to where I am, and although my ambitions this year won’t be as leader, I hope to add my experience and support to the team as best I can as road captain. We have a strong contender in Michael Woods, and I look forward to giving my all for him and the team in the battle to Paris.”
Froome admitted during the recent Critérium du Dauphiné that his form and fitness were not yet at a level challenge for a fifth Tour de France title.
He has battled back from a serious crash that took place in the 2019 Criterium du Dauphiné that left his career hanging by a knife-edge.
After a move from Ineos to Israel Start-Up Nation during the winter he has looked to build on his form and fitness. However his results so far in 2021 have not been near the standard of a Grand Tour contender and he will use the Tour de France to build up for the Vuelta.
He brings valuable experience to a team that are making just their second appearance in the Tour de France and will race as the team’s road captain – a role vacated by Daryl Impey who has been ruled out through injury.
“Chris will be our road captain in this year’s Tour de France. As a four-time winner of the Tour, the value of his experience cannot be underestimated. It will be extremely useful for the team during the race”, said sports manager Rik Verbrugghe.
“On a performance level, I believe that we will see another improvement from the Dauphiné to the Tour after our recent training camp in the Alps. We hope to see Chris progress stage by stage throughout the race.”
Israel Start-Up Nation has yet to announce their full line up for the Tour de France but are expected to reveal their eight riders over the coming days.
It’s also not clear if the new Factor time trial bikes, first spotted by Cyclingnews at the Giro d’Italia, will be rolled out for the two time trials in the Tour de France.
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