Chris Froome will not be joining his new Israel Start-Up Nation team-mates for their first training camp of the year in Girona, Spain, so he can continue to concentrate on his intense training and rehab programme in California, US.
The four-time Tour de France winner has agreed with his team that it makes more sense for him to continue individual training so he can be in the best shape possible for the upcoming season.
Froome is undergoing rehab as well as training in California as he is still recovering from the career-threatening crash he had in the 2019 Critérium du Dauphiné.
The team's head of performance, Paulo Saldanha explained in a team press release: "Chris Froome, has made great progress with both his rehab and strength work to rebalance his body since his significant injury.
"After our internal assessment and discussion, we felt it was important for him to continue in his current environment in California. We feel this is most conducive for continuing his progress both on and off the bike."
Israel Start-Up Nation's first camp was meant to be in the usual spot of Israel, but the country has gone into its third national lockdown, despite being one of the leading countries in the world for vaccinations.
The team had to reschedule and move the location to the much-used training roads around the city of Girona in Spain instead, with the team hoping to go to Israel in February or March.
Sylvan Adams, team co-owner, said: "We will hold a preliminary pre-season training camp in Spain, as it was impossible to confidently hold the camp in Israel, as we usually do, due to the COVID restrictions and with the borders closed to non-Israelis. So, we intend to do a second camp in Israel as soon as possible,"
Froome isn't the only new signing, as the Israeli squad have brought in Classics rider Sep Vanmarke, all-rouder Daryl Impey, punchy climber Michael Woods, and time trialist Patrick Bevin, among others.
"We need to give them the chance to train and learn how to achieve their different goals together. It is critical, with so many new riders and the new goals we have in front of us," said team manager Kjell Carlstrom.
Froome was due to begin his build-up to the Tour de France in Argentina at the Vuelta a San Juan for the first time in his career, but it is unclear as to whether the race is even going ahead with teams dropping out due to Covid-19.
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