'His old team will be his biggest rival' - Cycling world reacts as Chris Froome will leave Team Ineos for Israel Start-Up Nation

The biggest transfer announcement in recent years

Chris Froome signing autographs on stage 16 of the Tour de France 2017 (Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images)
(Image credit: AFP/Getty Images)

The rumours that Chris Froome is leaving Team Ineos have been confirmed, as the British Grand Tour star is heading to Israel Start-Up Nation next season.

Froome, four-time winner of the Tour de France, is looking to secure his position as a sole team leader, which is a guarantee Ineos aren’t willing to make.

So after 11 years with the British WorldTour squad, Froome will be making the jump to a new team – one that has not yet ridden the Tour de France.

Unsurprisingly the news has caused a stir in the cycling world, but how are pundits and fans reacting in the immediate aftermath.

Cycling commentator Carlton Kirby said: “So Chris Froome is off to Israel Cycling at the season's end.

“Does it make Chris more likely to help others at Ineos? Will he be less favoured as a departing son? Or a last hurrah the aim? Answers soon thank heaven.”

Froome and Ineos have been dominant in Grand Tours over the last decade, with the Brit winning seven three0week races since 2011.

After supporting Sir Bradley Wiggins to becoming the first British Tour de France winner in 2012, Froome won his first yellow jersey the following year.

With Sir Dave Brailsford at the helm, Froome went on to win three more Tours de France, two Vuelta red jerseys and a Giro d’Italia title.

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On Froome’s departure from Ineos, cycling journalist and author Peter Cossins said: “No surprise to see this news. The key question in the short term is how this affects Froome’s leadership prospects at the Tour.

“Does it relegate him to third in the Ineos hierarchy? Is there a question mark over his selection?”

Israel Start-Up Nation only joined the WorldTour in 2020, as the owners of Professional Continental outfit Israel Cycling Academy took over the struggling Katusha-Alpecin squad.

The team roster currently features Grand Tour leader Dan Martin, sprinter André Greipel and British time triallist Alex Dowsett.

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Danish writer Brian Nygaard, a former press officer for Team Sky, said: “Will be really interesting to see Chris Froome in a different team context going forwards.

“Impossible to write him off given his tenacity to come back after this crash.

“Great story that his old team will now be his biggest rival in the last years of his career.”

But the announcement by Israel Start-Up Nation also caused some confusion among cycling pundits, as it came before the official opening of the UCI’s transfer window.

UCI regulations state that a rider can only change teams during the transfer period from August 1 to December 15.

ISN seem to have found a way around this rule, by announcing that Froome will not officially sign his contract until August 1, but still revealing that he will be joining the team.

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Rider agent Gary McQuaid said: “So you can’t officially announce a rider is making a transfer to a new team before August 1 under UCI rules, but you can announce a rider will be officially signing a contract on August 1 for a new team before August 1.”

Journalist Daniel Friebe added: “To be clear, ISN saying contract will only be signed on August 1 appears to put them on the right side of UCI regulations.”

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Team Ineos and Froome fans have also shared their thoughts on the transfer.

One said: “Very sad but this is sport. Froomey has been a total gentleman and presented himself in a manner others across all sports should follow. I’ll still be following Chris no matter who he rides for.”

>>> Ranked: Chris Froome’s best victories 

Another said: “What a great signing. Will be looking on with excitement to see my three favourite riders working together - Chris Froome, Dan Martin and the hilarious Alex Dowsett.”

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