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Froome believes Bernal will work for him at 2020 Tour de France

Joe Robinson
14 Oct 2019

Team Ineos looking likely to back Froome in pursuit of yellow jersey number five

Egan Bernal has pledged to support Chris Froome at next year's Tour de France, according to the four-time yellow jersey winner. Froome will target a record-equalling fifth Tour title in 2020 in his long comeback from serious injuries sustained at the Criterium du Dauphine in June.

In his absence, Bernal went on to win the race beating teammate and last year's champion Geraint Thomas to a career-first Grand Tour.

However, rather than line up to defend his title, Froome has suggested Bernal will sacrifice his own chances to act as a super-domestique in July.

Talking to France Televisions, Froome said '[Bernal] has said he is' ready to act as support. 'I need to be the strongest. If he’s the strongest, then I’ll be happy if he wins, because that’s how racing goes – the strongest rider wins.'

Froome has not raced since June after crashing on his time trial bike during a Stage 4 recon at the Criterium du Dauphine. Coming off while travelling at 60kmph, the Team Ineos rider sustained breaks to his femur, hip, elbow, sternum and vertebrae.

After three weeks in hospital and intensive rehabilitation, the 34-year-old has only just returned to riding his bike and will race the Saitama Criterium in Japan later this month.

With his recovery advancing quicker than expected, Froome is now aiming for the Tour next July before targeting the Olympic road race in Tokyo a month later. 

It is looking clearer that Froome will be Team Ineos's leader at next year's Tour - recovery permitting - with Thomas last month suggesting he will be heading to the Giro d'Italia to target success there instead of racing in France.

If Froome does return to race the Tour and ultimately win a fifth title, he realises the magnitude of the achievements but admits it would not be enough to force him into retirement. 

'A fifth Tour title was a big deal in itself. But going for a fifth title off what was potentially a career-ending crash, that would be even bigger,' said Froome.

'Everyone tells me that I should stop when I’m at the top, but I love cycling and I want to continue. If I can’t win, then I will help someone else who can win. I’ve won four Tours, I’m short of at least one more victory.'