• Chris Froome of Israel Start-Up Nation (Israel Cycling Academy)Source: Israel Cycling Academy
Four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome has announced that he'll see out his career with Israel Start-Up Nation, with a possibility that he'll assume an off-bike role after that.
SBS Cycling Central

11 Jan - 11:36 AM 

A calm and content Chris Froome spoke to Israel Start-Up Nation (ISN) media officers ahead of the 2021 beginning in earnest, saying that he views his teaming up with his new squad as a long term commitment.

"It was a pretty big decision to join ISN," said Froome. "Kjell Carlström, former teammate of mine and now the general manager of Israel Start-Up Nation, reached out. It didn't take long for me to have the first conversation with the team owner Sylvan Adams.

"Immediately there was this connection and his passion was clear to see. After the discussions with Sylvan we came to the conclusion, especially changing at this point of my career after having been with one team for 11 years, we agreed that joining ISN, this is not just a commitment that I'm going to make for a year or two.

"This is a commitment until the end of my career, possibly beyond that. "

Many thought that Froome would end his career at the team with which he won seven Grand Tours, but a prolonged recovery from a life-threatening crash at the Criterium du Dauphine in 2019 and the end of his contract, saw the Kenyan-born Froome leave Team Sky. 

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2020 was a year of slow recovery for Froome, initially he'd be among the first dropped when the race reached its pointy end at races like the Criterium du Dauphine, but by the end of the Vuelta a Espana, he was riding strongly on the final slopes as a domestique for Richard Carapaz. Froome is relishing the new challenge. 

"Part of me feels that at my age - I'm 35 - coming back from a big injury, year after year it's been copy and paste, copy and pasting every year, year on year," said Froome. "Changing teams at this point is going to give me more mental stimulation and motivation. It's a new project, a new chapter. It does feel quite rejuvenating for me."

"My goals haven't changed. I want to get back to that top level, I want to be fighting for victory at the Tour de France and other Grand Tours. I'm looking forward to getting 2021 underway now and hopefully this is the start of a long partnership going forward."

Froome has been in off-season training in California, USA, where there's been a heavy focus on gym and physio among his pre-season preparations.

"I've been focusing a lot this winter at really focusing on the imbalances and weaknesses that I have from the injury and I'm feeling really optimistic about the upcoming season."

Israel Start-Up Nation is in just their second season as a WorldTour team, but is throwing a lot of weight and money around, with the signing of stars of the sport, including well-established but ageing riders Andre Greipel, Michael Woods, Daryl Impey, Sep Vanmarcke and Dan Martin.

That has been balanced with some youth, with two Australian neo-pros, sprinter Taj Jones (formerly ARA-Pro Racing Sunshine Coast) and climber Seb Berwick (St George Continental), saying that the were attracted to the team because of the presence of Greipel and Froome respectively. Australian Alastair MacKellar is also part of the feeder Israel Cycling Academy Continental team for the WorldTour squad.

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"I think a project like this has massive potential," said Froome. "Especially looking at things from an Israeli perspective.

"When you look at what Team Sky did for British cycling, motivating people all the way from little kids to grown adults to get into cycling. This is something were hoping to replicate in Israel. Hopefully, we see a lot of young Israeli cyclists."