Chris Froome was “angry” with Ineos management after they didn’t offer an explanation to Egan Bernal’s comments that he wouldn’t sacrifice himself for a team-mate at the Tour de France if he was on top form.
An anonymous family member of Froome’s told L’Équipe the four-time Tour winner had asked team management for clarification surrounding Bernal’s comments but did not receive a response.
“Chris is clearly angry with the team management because nobody reacted to Bernal’s words,” the family member told the French newspaper.
“He asked to resolve the situation quickly, but has not yet received a response.”
Rumours had begun circling that two teams had approached Froome about a mid-season transfer, with the 34-year-old seeking an outright leadership role at the upcoming Tour de France in order to secure a record-equalling fifth Tour title.
Spanish media reported Movistar were one team interested in obtaining his services, as well as NTT and Bahrain-McLaren, while Israel Start-Up Nation didn’t deny they were interested in acquiring Froome’s signature.
However, a source within Ineos told Gazzetta dello Sport the British squad had no plans to let Froome leave this season: “No, he will stay with us in 2020,” the source told the Italian newspaper.
Froome, who missed the 2019 Tour de France through injury, had received a boost to his chances of taking the yellow jersey in 2020 after the race was delayed by two months, according to team boss Dave Brailsford. This would, however, provide further complication to team selection for the Tour, as Ineos appeared likely to take the last three general classification winners to the race within the same eight-man squad.
In Bernal’s full comments to Alberto Contador during the Europsort interview, the Colombian said he understood that both Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome wanted to win another yellow jersey, yet he didn’t see himself throwing away the opportunity to defend his title.
“I understand the position of Geraint Thomas, who wants to win his second Tour. In the past two Tours he was first and second so he’s a rider that very much has to be taken into account. I also understand Chris Froome, who wants to win his fifth Tour. Given everything that has happened to him, it would be the best way for him to come back,” Bernal said.
“But I also put myself in a position. I’m young, I’ve already won one Tour de France, and I’m not going to throw away an opportunity to win another Tour de France, that’s for sure. That I would sacrifice myself being at 100 per cent…I don’t think I’m going to do that, nor will anyone.”