With Chris Froome and his Ineos Team confirming the departure of the four-time Tour de France champion at the end of the year, we look back on the British rider’s amazing tenure with the team. And while he did not start his career with Sky, he clearly came into his own there, as the team gave him the structure and coaching he lacked to reach his true potential. While winning a fifth Tour de France with the team this September before moving on to Israel Start-Up Nation remains unknown, it would be a fitting swan song.
I first met Chris Froome mid-way through the 2012 Tour de France. While all eyes were on his teammate Bradley Wiggins, I was intrigued by the incredible story of how this relatively unknown rider made to way from Africa to the summit of the Tour de France.
After sitting in the shadows of teammate Bradley Wiggins in 2012, Froome was eager to prove that he too could be a Tour de France winner. In yellow early in the race, Froome consolidated his lead on the memorable time trial around the mythic Mont Saint Michel.
In one of his most dominant displays of strength, Froome destroyed the field on the mythic Mont Ventoux climb.
Froome gets used to life in yellow, and all of the post-race protocol that it entails.
After crashing out early in the 2014 Tour, all eyes were on Froome at the start of the 2015 event. Would he be back to his world-dominating self? The response came quickly.
Taking over the yellow jersey already on stage three, Froome powered his Sky team through the stage nine team time trial.
And just in case there were any questions remaining, he used the first mountain stage in the Pyrénées to La Pierre–Saint Martin to score an emphatic solo victory.
This shot was caught by my daughter Ella — who was my trusty assistant in 2015 — on the Plateau de Beille, one of the most miserable days I can remember in the Tour.
With his second Tour de France in his pocket, Froome cruises down the Champs-Elysées in Paris.
Keeping an eye on things mid-way through the 2016 Tour.
Chaos erupted on the Mont Ventoux as Froome, along with former teammate Richie Porte crashed heavily on the crowd-packed lower slopes. And only a favorable decision from the jury allowed him to keep his yellow jersey.
Froome put the Ventoux debacle behind him on the following-stage time trial La Caverne du Pont-d’Arc. And although he finished behind Holland’s Tom Dumoulin, he demonstrated that he was still very much still in control of the race.
Coming across the finish line in Paris, Froome often did so with his entire Sky team.
Starting another Tour in search of number four, Froome rode cautiously in the rain-sodden opening time trial around Düsseldorf, Germany. And he was only too happy to see his teammate and friend Geraint Thomas come out on top of the day and take over yellow.
Duking it out with former teammate Richie Porte on La Planche des Belles Filles — a memorable climb for Froome, where he scored his first stage victory in the Tour here back in 2012.
Looking out on his world — the Tour de France.
Rolling to sign-in, Froome’s popularity was at a high in 2017.
Controlling the racing in the Alps.
While he didn’t win on this day, it is safe to say that Froome will not forget the memories of riding up the mythic Col de l’Izoard in yellow any time soon.
Froome powers to his fourth Tour de France with a strong final time trial around the streets of the old port in historic Marseille.
And his victory promenade continued up and down the Champs-Elyséees past the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
Only days before his devastating crash, Froome rode strongly in his new Ineos colors during the opening stages of the Criterium du Dauphiné, one of his preferred pre-Tour races. But his own history in the Tour would soon unravel when he crashed heavily while warming up for the time trial mid-way through the stage race.