Tour de France

Tour de France: Chris Froome handed road captain role for Israel Start-Up Nation

Chris Froome will play a support role for Michael Woods, who has been named as Israel Start-Up Nation's GC leader for the Tour de France.

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Chris Froome will be the road captain for Israel Start-Up Nation at the Tour de France later this month.

The 36-year-old will ride in support of Canadian Michael Woods, who was named as the team’s GC leader Monday.

Froome’s participation in the three-week race was in doubt after a string of disappointing results in the opening half of the season, and he had already shot down any idea of winning the race himself this year.

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In the end, it was his experience as a former winner of the Tour de France that has seen him earn his spot.

It will be Froome’s first appearance at the race since 2018 – when he finished in third behind Geraint Thomas and Tom Dumoulin. He missed the 2019 event after a horrific crash in the build-up to the event, while he missed selection for it last year.

“After two years away from the Tour de France I can’t wait to get back. It has been an arduous journey since my crash at the Critérium du Dauphiné in 2019, but this has been one of my biggest motivations”, Froome said.

“I’ve been working tirelessly to get to where I am, and although my ambitions this year won’t be as leader, I hope to add my experience and support to the team as best I can as road captain. We have a strong contender in Michael Woods, and I look forward to giving my all for him and the team in the battle to Paris.”

Froome has struggled to get back to his best since the crash in 2019, which left him with a fractured neck, his right femur, elbow, and ribs. While Froome’s results on the road have been largely disappointing, he and the team have been adamant that he is improving.

Also read: Chris Froome on Tour de France: ‘I’m not talking about winning’

While it’s unlikely that Froome will be with Woods well into the big mountains, the team hopes his experience can still pay dividends on the road.

“Chris will be our road captain in this year’s Tour de France. As a four-time winner of the Tour, the value of his experience cannot be underestimated. It will be extremely useful for the team during the race,” sports director Rik Verbrugghe said.

“On a performance level, I believe that we will see another improvement from the Dauphiné to the Tour after our recent training camp in the Alps. We hope to see Chris progress stage by stage throughout the race.”

Froome and Woods are the only riders currently confirmed to start the Tour de France for Israel Start-Up Nation, with more announcements set to come over the remainder of the week.