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Israel Start-Up Nation has announced Chris Froome will ride the upcoming Tour de France, albeit in a different role than previously anticipated. The four-time overall winner will move into the role of a captain on the road. “Chris will be our road captain in this year’s Tour de France”, explains sports manager Rik Verbrugghe. “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.”
After coming back from a career-threatening injury in the Criterium du Dauphiné two years ago, Froome has not shown the form this year to be the team’s general classification hope. His best result was 22nd in stage four of the UAE Tour in February while in the most recent Criterium du Dauphiné he lost minutes on the terrains he used to excel on: the time trial and the high mountains.
Sports manager Verbrugghe is still hopeful that Froome’s level will continue to improve. “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.”
Froome himself is eager to return to the Tour de France, a race he won in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017, after a hiatus. “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, but this has been one of my biggest motivations”, Froome explains ahead of his ninth start.
“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.”
Canadian Michael Woods, who finished fifth in both the Tour de Romandie and Tour de Suisse recently was announced as the team’s GC leader on Monday. Israel Start-Up Nation will announce the other six riders to start the Tour de France in Brest on 26 June later this week.