With Froome looking for guaranteed leadership in Grand Tours, the Brit is now heading to Israel Start-Up Nation after more than a decade with his current team.
But the announcement has sparked another question for the 2020 season – will Team Ineos take Chris Froome to the Tour de France one last time?
While some may feel the answer is an obvious yes – Froome is a four-time Tour winner after all – the reality may be more complicated.
With three yellow jersey winners in the roster, politics within Ineos were always likely to cause a strain as Froome, Egan Bernal and Geraint Thomas have all made their ambitions clear, but with Froome now leaving team things are complicated further.
Can Team Ineos rely on Froome to ride for the squad if it means sacrificing his own chances? Would Froome consider an unplanned attack to take time on both his rivals and team-mates, in pursuit of the record-equalling fifth yellow jersey?
David Millar, retired British pro and Tour de France stage winner, told Cycling Weekly: “There’s not a bad bone in Chris Froome’s body.
“You would ever doubt he would do the right thing in a race situation.”
In Millar's view the only reason Froome wouldn’t be given a Tour spot if his fitness wasn’t up to scratch, not because of team tactics.
He added: “He’s an incredibly decent human being. He’ll race for himself if he can win, and if he can’t he will help the team.”
Froome’s form is a mystery as WorldTour racing returns on August 1 after he suffered a career-threatening crash at the 2019 Critérium du Dauphiné.
The 35-year-old suffered a serious leg break that took him out for the rest of the season, including the 2019 Tour which was won by his team-mate Egan Bernal.
Froome believes he is back to his previous level of fitness, but with just five days of racing in his legs at the UAE Tour in February he has not yet been tested.
Sean Yates, cycling coach and former Team Sky sports director said: “If he wasn't selected for the Tour, I can't imagine that scenario. But then again there's a first time for everything.
“In theory you want the strongest riders at the Tour and if Froome is where he says he is, then he's one of the strongest guys in the team. The more strong guys you have the better, but only if they're willing to work for the greater good and there's not a massive conflict.
“The Tour is hard enough as it is.”
Servais Knaven, a current Team Ineos DS, says Froome’s departure will not affect his position on the Tour squad.
Kaven told Dutch newspaper NU.nl (opens in new tab): “We want to win the Tour. And if Chris is the best, he wins. The fact that he will leave us after this year really doesn't make any difference.”
So it seems that Froome’s fitness will be the deciding factor in his selection for the Tour, not his loyalty.
But even if he’s not back to his GC-winning best, does Ineos have reason to line up with Froome?
Cycling journalist and author Peter Cossins said in a recent piece for Cycling Weekly: “Even if he’s not at his Tour-winning best, his experience and climbing ability could make him a tremendous asset on what is being touted as the toughest Tour route of recent years.”
For cycling fans however, Froome’s inclusion in the team would be a huge bonus as we'd get to see three of the best Grand Tour racers in the world fight it while all wearing the same colours.
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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.
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