Chris Froome is out of contract at the end of 2020 but the British rider has no plans to retire just yet. The 34-year-old is currently coming back from a series of injuries – including a broken leg - sustained at the Critérium du Dauphiné last June, with the UAE Tour marking his first competitive outing in eight months.
Froome has been at Team Ineos since signing with the squad's former backers, Sky, in 2010 and has gone on to establish himself as one of the most successful Grand Tour riders in history, with four Tour de France victories along with one at the Giro d'Italia and two at the Vuelta a España.
However, with Egan Bernal and a host of young talent coming through at Ineos, and with uncertainty still hanging over Froome’s capacity to return to the very top, there is always the chance that he could move teams at the end of the year.
Several teams have shown interest in the past but Froome has always re-signed with the British team when presented with fresh terms. His last contract was signed ahead of the 2017 Tour de France.
"I’m not really thinking about it now. Whatever happens, happens," Froome told Cyclingnews and a small huddle of journalists at the start of stage 4 of the UAE Tour.
When asked if he would definitely be carrying on after 2020, he simply nodded and said: "Yes."
The question over whether Froome could sign for another team is certainly a fair one. At 34, and without a Grand Tour win since 2018, he may find more opportunities to lead a Tour team at another squad. The financial side will also be a factor in any decision or progression with talks at Ineos.
At the same time, it’s unlikely that any new deal will be put forward until Froome at least gets a serious block of racing into his legs.
"Obviously I have my loyalties to this team and it feels like home after 10 years of being here," he said. "But at the same time, I need to get something signed before we carry on."
South Africa and Catalunya
After the UAE Tour concludes, Froome will head to South Africa for another block of training. He mentioned an altitude camp in a previous interview with Cyclingnews this week but did not disclose the location. We can also confirm that his next race will be the Volta a Catalunya, which takes place on March 23-29.
"I’m not going to get stronger after a couple of days; it’s going to take me months to get stronger. Considering where I’ve come from, I’m really happy with how the legs and the body are feeling," he added.
"I’m going to do a block of training over in South Africa after this. Then I’ll be going into Catalunya."
On stage 3 of the UAE Tour, the Mitchelton-Scott leader, Adam Yates, won at Jebel Hafeet. Froome finished well down after working to put his teammate Eddie Dunbar into position at the foot of the final climb.
"My job was done before we’d even got to the climb. I’m here to just start my season and to start racing. Yesterday was about that," he said. "It was impressive to see the results and it was good to see Eddie up there. The climb by Adam was incredibly impressive and it’s hard to see anyone beating him."