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Team Ineos question Froome's chances of winning a fifth Tour de France

Joe Robinson
21 Jul 2020

Those within team management are doubting whether Froome can win this summer's Tour

Management within Team Ineos have pubically cast their doubts as to whether a departing Chris Froome can win a fifth Tour de France title before leaving for Israel Start-Up Nation.

The team's technical director Carsten Jeppesen told Danish television that 'a lot has happened' since the 35-year-old last won a yellow jersey and that he may not have what it takes to win the Tour this summer.

'There is no doubt that he has put a lot of work into it. As always, Chris has been a fantastic athlete and incredibly dedicated. I do not believe that there's anyone who has trained as hard during this coronavirus crisis as he has,' Jeppesen said on Danish broadcaster TV2.

'But I'm not 100% sure that he will get so ready that he is where he needs to be able to win. A lot has happened since Froome won last. We have won the Tour with both Geraint [Thomas] and Egan [Bernal], and Froome has grown older and has been subjected to a very, very serious crash last year.'

Froome is aiming to equal a record of five Tour yellow jerseys this summer alongside an exclusive club of Eddy Merckx, Jacques Anquetil and Miguel Indurain but faces two major problems.

Firstly, he is still returning from a career-threatening crash sustained at the 2019 Criterium du Dauphine last July. Since that period, Froome has raced competitively only once, the UAE Tour this February where he finished 71st overall.

Secondly, if Froome does race this summer's Tour, he will be forced to share leadership with defending champion Egan Bernal and 2018 winner Geraint Thomas.

With guarantees of sole Grand Tour leadership no longer possible, Froome has decided to jump ship for the 2021 season, joining Israel Start-Up Nation on a three-year deal.

As Froome has already pledged his future elsewhere, rumours have begun to speculate whether the seven-time Grand Tour champion will even get a ride at this year's Tour.

Some have speculated that Team Ineos will just opt for another mountain domestique to support Bernal and Thomas while others have suggested Froome's allegiance to the eventual team leader may not be trusted, with some citing his fractious relationship with Bradley Wiggins in 2011 and 2012.

Jeppesen, however, shares none of these concerns and believes that if picked for the Tour, Froome will act in a professional manner whether team leader or super-domestique.

'Now we have known Chris and worked with him for many years, and if there is one thing you can say about him, it is that he is a professional,' Jeppesen added in defence of Froome.

'With it being decided out on the road, it may sound a bit like a phrase, but by and large that's the way it is – the best man wins. I really think they all have so much respect for each other that it becomes no problem.'

Froome will restart his 2020 season at four-day Route d'Occitanie on 1st August, racing alongside Bernal. That duo will then be joined by Thomas for the Tour de l'Ain and Criterium du Dauphine in final preparations for the Tour de France Grand Depart on 29th August.