Chris Froome on Israel Start-Up Nation: ‘Ineos have been winning Grand Tours for years, this is something new’

The four-time Tour de France champion explains his motivation for switching teams 

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Chris Froome has explained his motivation behind changing teams at the end of 2020, saying “Ineos have been winning Grand Tours for years, this is something new.” 

The British star, a four-time winner of the Tour de France, is currently making his debut in Israel Start-Up Nation colours in the UAE Tour, where he hopes to feel more comfortable in the peloton after his serious injuries in 2019.

In a wide-ranging interview with The Guardian (opens in new tab), Froome has shared his thoughts on joining his new team and other topics like the medical tribunal of former British Cycling and Team Sky doctor Richard Freeman. 

On his new team Froome said: “Their proposal for a Grand Tour programme resonated. 

“Ineos have been winning grand tours for years. This is something new, something fresh and just what I needed. I’ve never been part of a process of recruiting riders and staff, of planning. At Ineos all these things were done for us. Now I’m part of that process.” 

The 35-year-old has been joined at Israel Start-Up Nation by a number of strong veterans, including Mike Woods and Daryl Impey, alongside the team's existing riders like Dan Martin, Alex Dowsett and Andre Greipel. 

Froome acknowledged that it’s an older team with “guys who by no means match up to Ineos’s roster,” but added that it’s "a great group with fantastic intentions.”

The seven-time Grand Tour winner is hoping to take a fifth yellow jersey with his new team, as the Israeli WorldTour squad aims to become a serious contender in three-week races. 

Froome also responded to the medical tribunal of Dr Freeman, which centres around allegations the doctor ordered testosterone to be delivered to the British Cycling headquarters in 2011 with the intention of administering it to a rider to dope.

Freeman has admitted 18 of the 22 charges against him, but denies the banned substance was ordered for an athlete to dope, instead claiming he was “bullied” into ordering the testosterone by Shane Sutton to treat Sutton’s erectile dysfunction. Sutton denies this.

Freeman has now been charged by UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) with two offences under the anti-doping rules, as his fitness-to-practice medical tribunal comes to a close. 

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Froome said he has seen the headlines about Freeman, but that he has not been following the story and that he’s not that interested in it. 

He added that he doesn’t think it’s fair for him to comment on the case because he doesn’t know the particulars.  

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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.