Chris Froome is close to renewing his Team Sky contract, Team Principal David Brailsford explained this morning at the Tour de France.
"Obviously, it's no secret that we want him to stay," Brailsford responded to Cycling Weekly. "It's well under way, should we say. There's a few dots on the Is and crossing the Ts. It's not signed, but we're in an agreement."
Froome leads the Tour de France with a week and a half to race. He last re-signed with Sky during the Spanish Grand Tour, the 2011 Vuelta a España.
In 2011, he signed a three-year agreement that would take him through next year, 2014. This new agreement would replace his final year and continue for three years, through 2016.
Sky developed Froome after he passed his first two professional years, 2008 and 2009 with Barloworld. In his Sky years, he placed second in the Vuelta and Tour, both times on the podium with Bradley Wiggins.
Wiggins won the Tour de France last year and Froome placed 3-21 minutes behind in second. Since then, Froome has proved repeatedly he is capable of leading teams and winning races. This season, he won the Tour of Oman, Critérium International, Tour of Romandie and Critérium du Dauphiné.
"It's obviously as riders develop and improve their value keeps escalating. We have to manage that so that a rider feels like a he's getting paid the value their worth," Brailsford added.
"Quite a few riders come [to Sky] on a certain contract, at a certain level to invest in themselves. They'll say, 'I'll take this for now, with a view to develop this up to a level where I can get a high level contract.' If that happens, it's all well and good, and they want that value, which is only fair."
A signed contract appears imminent but independent of Froome's Tour de France result.
"It's pretty much established, that value is the same as before or after [the Tour]. It's not a results-dependent thing, it's an ability-dependent thing," Brailsford explained.
"If he crashed, breaks his collarbone and doesn't finish this race, his value is not going to drop. The result would confirm it, but his value is pretty much well recognised."
Brailsford did not say, but Cycling Weekly estimated he could earn around £3.44m (€4m) a year.
In comparison, Vincenzo Nibali, second in last year's Tour, reportedly signed for Astana £1.98m (€2.3m) annually in mid-2012. Alberto Contador, before news leaked he failed a doping test, signed for Saxo Bank in 2010 for an estimated £3.87m (€4.5m).
Tour de France 2013: Stage reports
Stage 11: Martin wins time trial as Froome extends lead
Stage 10: Kittel takes second stage win
Stage nine: Martin wins stage as Froome fights to keep lead
Stage eight: Froome wins Tour mountains stage to take overall lead
Stage seven: Sagan scores first win of 2013 Tour
Stage six: Greipel wins as Impey moves into lead
Stage five: Cavendish wins; Gerrans keeps lead
Stage four: Orica win Tour's team time trial to put Gerrans in yellow
Stage three: Gerrans outpaces Sagan to take win
Stage two: Millar denied yellow as Bakelants takes spoils
Stage one: Kittel wins chaotic opening stage
Tour de France 2013: Podcasts
Podcast six (stage nine)
Tour de France 2013: Comment, analysis, blogs
Moto blog part one (July 9)
Lessons learnt by Team Sky after Tour visits Pyrenees
Was Sunday (stage nine) a missed opportunity for Froome's rivals?
Rest day review (July 8)
Tour de France: 100 Tours, 1,000 stories
Tour de France 2013: Photo galleries
Stage 11 by Graham Watson
Stage 10 by Graham Watson
Stage nine by Andy Jones
Stage nine by Graham Watson
Stage eight by Andy Jones
Stage eight by Graham Watson
Stage seven by Andy Jones
Stage seven by Graham Watson
Stage six by Andy Jones
Stage six by Graham Watson
Stage five by Andy Jones
Stage five by Graham Watson
Stage four by Andy Jones
Stage four by Graham Watson
Stage three by Graham Watson
Stage two by Graham Watson
Stage one by Graham Watson
Team presentation by Graham Watson
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