Chris Froome is expected to ride the Tour de France with Team Ineos according to team-mate Dylan van Baarle, despite recent press reports linking the four-time jersey winner with a potential mid-season move to Israel Start-Up Nation.
Dutch newspaper AD.nl quotes van Baarle, who is currently at a training camp with Froome ahead of racing resuming on 1 August, as saying, “I assume he will be there.”
The first day of August is also the day a two-week transfer window opens allowing riders to switch teams mid-season, provided all parties are in agreement.
The Tour de France is now scheduled to start of 29 August, and besides Froome, Team Ineos also boast the past two winners of the race in Geraint Thomas and defending champion Egan Bernal.
That has led to mounting speculation that Froome, out of contract at the end of the year, may use this year’s unprecedented circumstances to move to a team where he would be sole leader.
Van Baarle told the Dutch newspaper: “I think we will have the strongest team. And the experience this team has speaks to his [Froome’s] advantage.”
Froome, as well as Van Baarle – who earlier this year had a training camp together in South Africa – plus Thomas, former world champion Michal Kwiatkowski and Pavel Sivakov are currently preparing for the Tour de France in the Alps.
Speaking of rumours that Froome will be leaving the team, Van Baarle – winner of the Tour of Britain in 2014 when he rode for Garmin-Sharp – said: “Of course it's about it, because it's in the news every time.
“But as far as I know, he just stays and wants to ride the Tour with Ineos,” said the Dutchman, who rode his first Grand Tour for Team Ineos at last year’s Tour de France, which Froome missed due ti injury.
“In the end, I don't know what's going on behind the scenes with him either, but that's what he says to us,” he said. “So I assume he's there.”
He added that it would “be strange” if Froome, training with his current team-mates, headed to another team for the Tour.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.