Bernard Hinault says Chris Froome should leave Team Ineos if he doesn’t win Tour de France this year

Can Froome join Hinault in the five-time winners club?

(Image credit: AFP via Getty Images)

Bernard Hinault says Chris Froome should leave Team Ineos if he doesn’t win the Tour de France this year.

British Grand Tour star Froome is chasing his fifth yellow jersey, which would put him in an elite club of cycling stars alongside Hinault.

But Hinault has doubts about Froome's chances of winning another Tour with Ineos, as the team now have three winners amongst their ranks, including rising star Egan Bernal.

French cycling great Hinault, winner of five Tours between 1978 and 1985, told Dutch news outlet (opens in new tab) AD: “If he doesn't win the Tour this year because he has not received support from his teammates, it is better to move to another team where he is sure that he is the only leader for the Tour.”

But Hinault, now 65, believes Froome still has another Tour de France in his legs, despite missing out for the last two years and suffering an almost-career-ending injury.

Froome missed out on the 2018 Tour to team-mate Geraint Thomas, after already won the Giro d’Italia just a few weeks before.

The seven-time Grand Tour winner was then absent from the 2019 Tour, having suffered an awful leg break at the Dauphiné.

The 35-year-old says he’s back to full strength however and is eager to race the rescheduled Tour de France from late August.

Hinault said: “It is the problem they created with Ineos themselves. They have attracted the best riders - Bernal, Thomas and Froome - to win the Tour every year. And they all want to win.

“Bernal has the advantage. He is very young and he is very talented. Bernal is the rider of the future.”

Rumours have already begun to circulate that Froome might be considering a change of team, as his contract comes to an end later this year.

>>> Power data reveals the efforts behind Chris Froome’s celebrity Zwift race, featuring Olly Murs and Mel C 

While the speculation may have originated from Froome’s camp as the rider looks improve the terms of his next contract with Team ineos, Israel Start-Up Nation is amongst the teams who could be interested in signing the star.

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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.