Director sportive Cherie Pridham has reiterated Israel Start-Up Nation’s desire to help Chris Froome win a record-equaling fifth Tour de France after the British rider moved across from Ineos Grenadiers during the off-season.
Froome spent 11 years on the British WorldTour team, winning four editions of the Tour de France, a Giro d’Italia, and two editions of the Vuelta a España. At the 2019 Criterium du Dauphine, however, he suffered a career-threatening crash during a recon ride for the individual time trial and was forced to miss the rest of the year.
He came back in 2020 and despite finishing the Vuelta a España and riding in support of teammate Richard Carapaz, he has yet to regain his form of old. That hasn’t stopped Israel Start-Up Nation from signing the British rider on a multi-year deal as they look to challenge the likes of Ineos and Jumbo Visma in next year’s Tour.
Pridham, speaking to the BBC World Service's Sport Today earlier this week stressed that a great deal of care was going into Froome’s continued comeback and that the aim was to regain the rider's form and take on the very best in July.
“We are all working with him very carefully and making sure he gets back to full health and back to the Chris Froome we all love and hopefully we can get a fifth Tour title for him," she said.
Froome told Cyclingnews back in November that his Tour de France preparation for 2021 had already begun and that he was using the 18-stage Vuelta as part of his training.
"I was quite pleased to see the route that came out," he said at the time of the race.
"Every year I look at the parcours and try to see if it’s well balanced between climbs and time trials, and I do think that in previous years the scales have very much been tipped towards the pure climbers and the only time trials that we’ve had have been pretty weighted towards the climbers as well. The preparation for the Tour de France really starts now because with the Vuelta this late the condition will carry on and become the foundations for next year," Froome told Cyclingnews.
Pridham joined the team during the off-season too and becomes one of the first female directors in a men’s professional team, following on from the likes of Rachel Heal and Robin Morton.
"My personal aim this season is to get into the rhythm of the WorldTour and if I could deliver a race win at some stage this season that would be the icing on the cake,” she added.
Pridham, who also used to race at a high level, admits that she was blown away by the messages of support she received after the news of her arrival was made at the start of December.
"A handful of messages stood out and one in particular from a 14-year-old Spanish girl thanking me for the opening the doors for her, because her dream is to be a sports director for the men's Movistar Team.
"I've had so many messages that have made me sit up and think I do have a role to play in terms of leading the way for the next generation and hopefully quickly and we see more and more women involved in the sport."
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