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Froome sidesteps questions over Ineos's environmental record

Rider says he doesn't 'know enough to say if the world's in danger' when quizzed on Ineos's reported environmental effects

Joe Robinson
30 Apr 2019

Chris Froome has come under criticism for suggesting he doesn't 'know enough to say if the world's in danger' when questioned on new team sponsor Ineos's environmental record.

In an interview with Italian newspaper La Republica, Froome was sheepish when asked about chemical and oil company Ineos and its position as one of the world's largest producers of single-use plastics.

'I don’t know what to think, if not that business is business,' Froome said. 'Ineos is an important sponsor that allows us to stay at our level.

'Regarding pollution, global warming and the environment, I don’t know enough to say if the world is in danger or not.'

London, the capital of the team's 'home' country, recently became a focal point for protests against the inaction of politicians to face up to the known dangers of climate change. This news perhaps didn't reach tax-free Monaco, where Froome and many other pros live because of the training opportunities within the principality's 2.02 km².

Froome also shied away from answering whether the team's new primary sponsor contradicted the 'Pass on Plastic' message that former sponsor Sky promoted at the Tour de France via the team last season.

The six-time Grand Tour winner is now coming under criticism for avoiding difficult questions regarding the obvious contradiction between both sponsors.

Sky officially handed over sponsorship of the British WorldTour team to Ineos, Europe's largest petrochemical company, today with the team debuting at the Tour de Romandie.

While the company, fronted by Britain's richest man Jim Ratcliffe, helped save the team from closure, it has come under criticism by many environmental and anti-fracking groups which have accused the company of 'greenwashing' cycling.

Recently, the Frack Free United protest group revealed plans to distribute 15,000 Jim Ratcliffe devil masks across the route of the first stage of the Tour de Yorkshire this Thursday.

Group member Steve Mason then underlined to The Guardian the team's apparent reversal of morals with its newest sponsor.

'I don’t think fossil fuels should be included in sport,' said Mason. 'There is particular irony with the Ineos sponsorship after Team Sky spent last summer riding around with whales on the back of their jerseys to raise awareness of plastics in the ocean.'