Chris Froome 'absolutely not' worth multi-million euro salary says his team boss

The four-time Tour de France winner was not selected for this year's Tour de France for performance reasons, Israel-Premier Tech boss Sylvan Adams says

Chris Froome
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Sylvan Adams, Israel-Premier Tech’s owner, has said that Chris Froome has “absolutely not” been value for money, and cast doubt on the four-time Tour de France winner’s future career.

In an interview with Cycling Weekly and the RadioCycling podcast Adams didn’t hold back when asked about Froome’s contribution to the team since joining from Ineos Grenadiers before the start of the 2021 season.

Upon signing for Israel, Froome and his new employers made it clear that the Briton still believed he could mount a challenge towards a record-equalling fifth Tour win.

Adams added that he feels Froome’s underwhelming results for the team “have nothing to do with his injuries” sustained in a career- and a life-threatening injury at the Critérium du Dauphiné in June 2019.

Froome raced at both the 2021 and 2022 Tours de France, but was some way off the GC fight; his best result was third atop Alpe d'Huez last year, which also accounts for his highest-placed finish since his crash, and his only top-10 in the last four years.

It has been reported that Froome is on a multi-million euro annual wage, perhaps stretching to as much as €5m, and asked if the 38-year-old has been value for money, Adams responded: “Absolutely not. How could we say we had value for money? We signed Chris to be the leader of our Tour de France team and he’s not even here so that cannot be considered value for money. 

“This is not a PR exercise. Chris isn’t a symbol, he isn’t a PR tool, he’s supposed to be our leader at the Tour de France and he’s not even here, so no I couldn’t say he’s value for money, no.”

Adams admitted that recruiting Froome was risky given his injury and his age, but that the team had given him the platform to showcase his talents and had invested heavily into his rehabilitation.

The result, he claimed, had been less than satisfactory. “We had a double risk: the risk from the severity of his injuries and of course his advancing age,” Adams continued.

“Chris always felt he was a young rider, [and] he hasn’t done much racing. He started late, he was [mainly only] racing Grand Tours and his calendar was quite limited, [and] he believed in himself as a youngish rider. 

Chris Froome

(Image credit: Getty Images)

“With respect to his injuries, we were really innovative with bringing him back. We sent him to the Red Bull centre in Los Angeles, he worked with amazing specialists to rebalance his legs. Chris’ performances [nowadays] have nothing to do with his injuries in my observation. I don't think Chris is using that as an excuse anymore.

“We took a risk, but we were signing, as I said, the best Grand Tour rider of this generation, and I was willing to take the risk as we were a little team and overnight we were hoping to become contenders here at the Tour.

“It did raise our profile but this isn’t a PR exercise. My idea was, ‘wow, we’re going to have somebody to be relevant for the GC at the Tour de France’ and that hasn’t happened.”

Adams indicated that Froome’s initial three-year contract with the team comes to an end at the end of the current season, but despite his obvious unhappiness, that could be extended by a further year or two if Froome desires.

He explained: “Chris expressed, publicly I think, an interest in possibly riding until the age of 40. That would imply another two years after this year.

“The commitment I made to Chris was that he will retire on our team, so when he decides - with a ceiling of age 40 as those were the parameters we discussed - he wants to hang it up, it’ll be on his terms and that’s the personal commitment I made to Chris. He doesn’t have a five year contract exactly. But it can go up to five years if Chris so decides.”

Adams left the door open to Froome departing at the end of this year, pondering why the seven-time Grand Tour winner would want to continue racing in smaller races; his next race is scheduled to be the Czech Tour which begins on July 27.

Asked if Froome is considering retirement, Adams said “honestly I couldn’t say.” He elaborated: “If he started to show some results I guess he would be encouraged.

“If he just doesn’t produce results in lower tier races, would he really want to continue to be a pedestrian domestique on this team? That’s up to Chris. He has my personal commitment: he will retire as a member of Israel-Premier Tech.”

Chris Froome

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Israel-Premier Tech won stage nine of this year’s Tour on the Puy-de-Dôme courtesy of their Canadian veteran Michael Woods. It continues their good recent record in Grand Tours, with Derek Gee emerging as a superstar-in-the-making at May’s Giro d’Italia and the team winning two stages at last year’s Tour.

Adams, who repeatedly expressed his respect for Froome and his achievements, said that the Briton had not warranted being selected for this year’s edition.

“Which guy here on this team should we have left at home in order to give Chris a spot he didn’t earn?” he continued. “Because I can’t answer that question. These guys earned their spots and I feel good about the team I brought here. Chris I know was disappointed but he understood the decision. But of course he was disappointed because in his heart he believed he could eventually come here and perform.

“Not as a GC guy - and really we brought him as a GC guy, we didn’t sign him to be a stage hunter - and we all recognise, including Chris, he is not ready to compete for a GC podium, forget about winning, or even close to a podium, so if he wants to come here and hunt for stages he has got to displace one of these guys here and frankly he didn’t earn his spot.”

He added that “we gave him opportunities to ride in the Tour, like last year for example, when he hadn’t really earned his spot on the basis that Chris gets better in a three week race.”

Froome was approached for comment but did not respond in time for this article’s publication.

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Chris Marshall-Bell

Chris first started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2013 on work experience and has since become a regular name in the magazine and on the website. Reporting from races, long interviews with riders from the peloton and riding features drive his love of writing about all things two wheels.

Probably a bit too obsessed with mountains, he was previously found playing and guiding in the Canadian Rockies, and now mostly lives in the Val d’Aran in the Spanish Pyrenees where he’s a ski instructor in the winter and cycling guide in the summer. He almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.