Chris Froome planting seeds with key investment moves
Four-time Tour de France winner laying foundation for post-racing future as he prepares for a big 2022 season.
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TEL-AVIV, Israel (VN) — Chris Froome promises there’s still plenty of racing in his legs.
Despite a rough and tumble past two seasons, Froome hopes the worse is finally behind him, and he can return to the top echelon of the sport in 2022 in his second full season with Israel Start-Up Nation.
Yet the four-time Tour de France winner already has one eye on the future.
And he’s been quietly planting the seeds for his post-racing career with key investments in several bike-related brands across the peloton.
Speaking to VeloNews during a break at the busy pre-season training camp in Israel, Froome confirmed that’s bought interests in such companies as Factor bikes, Supersapiens glucose monitors, and Hammerhead cycling computers.
“Those are all partners for me,” Froome told VeloNews. “These are products that I already use and that I truly believe in.”
Details of the scope of his investment in each company were not revealed, but he is working closely with all three firms to both develop and improve the products as well as act as an ambassador role.
More than anything, Froome said he’s investing in the firms because he enjoys racing with the products.
“Hammerhead and Factor are both team sponsors,” Froome said. “I love my tech, so with Hammerhead, it’s revolutionizing the head-unit space in cycling. As well as Factor, it’s a British brand. I like the way they design their bikes, how they are looking purely for performance, and what the customer wants out of the bike.”
Chris Froome preparing for decisive 2022 season in Israel
The longer-horizon investment moves come as Froome prepares for what will be a decisive season in his immediate racing future.
His 2021 season didn’t go nearly as well as he had hoped for, but he’s optimistic that some background health issues and the imbalance between his right and left legs that knocked him back in 2021 are now in the rearview mirror.
Plans are to come into 2022 with all cylinders firing.
“I’ll be racing for a few years yet,” Froome said. “I just love racing and I am motivated to keep working and to keep racing. I had a few issues related to my recovery, and I think we’ve got most of those worked out on now. I’m excited [about 2022].”
Froome’s been busy the past few days in Israel, where is he joining his Israel Start-Up Nation teammates and staffers for its first international camp since before the coronavirus pandemic.
Though he raced in Israel in the 2018 Giro d’Italia, which he went on to win in spectacular fashion, Froome and the rest of his teammates have had time the past few days to take in some of Israel’s historic sites and spectacular scenery.
The team visited the holy sites as well as a holocaust museum in Jerusalem, and then transferred to Tel-Aviv along Israel’s Mediterranean coast. The team’s also squeezed in a few rides, including a mountain bike trip on a dusty, single-track near the Dead Sea and the Mount Masada historic site.
“When you’re racing, you don’t have time to visit such places as the Wailing Wall,” Froome said. “It’s quite emotional to visit these sites, and it helps you to better understand what is a complicated part of the world. It’s been fascinating.”
Froome is set to meet with Israel Start-Up Nation sport directors later this week to analyze the 2021 season and map out what lies ahead for the coming year. Nothing yet is finalized, but it’s expected that Froome will be putting the Tour back at the center of his plans if he’s able to continue progressing.
Chris Froome: ‘I love my tech’
In the meantime, Froome said he’s enjoying taking a deeper and more significant role in several companies, both as an elite athlete but also a financial stakeholder.
“I have different roles in each one,” Froome said. “With Hammerhead and Supersapiens, I am more involved as an ambassador. At Factor, I am giving a lot more feedback in product development. Even at Hammerhead, I say there’s something I’d like to see, and sometimes within two or three weeks, it’s actually incorporated into their software, and it’s rolled out for all their customers.”
Froome cited several examples of how and why he’s involved with each company that he’s opted to invest in.
At Hammerhead, Froome compared the bike computers as the next big technological advancement, almost like jumping from a Nokia flip-phone to an iPhone.
Froome cited an example that’s directly related to his devastating crash in 2019. A key issue for Froome since his recovery is the power balance between his two legs, with his operated leg obviously at a disadvantage to his uninjured one.
“They were really only showing average power, and no individualizing between right and left leg. It was a matter of asking for it, and within a few weeks, it was ready to go, and that was really important for my recovery,” Froome said. “That was a big part of my rehab.”
Using the data, Froome could tailor his training programs to favor his injured side, and help bring it back to full strength.
“It’s great to see what we asking for that is actually coming to life,” he said. “It’s not often that you actually have that relationship with sponsors. Quite often you’re just given material and you’re expected to use it.”
Froome hasn’t bought out any brands just yet, but he’s quietly putting money behind the products he uses and believes in.
And what about investing in cryptocurrencies? Froome laughed and said he was a bit late to that one.