Team Ineos is pulling together most of its Tour de France-bound riders for an altitude camp ahead of a return to racing next month. From there, most of the Tour squad will compete in a mix of races in France before the August 29 start of the Tour in Nice.
“We’ll have most of the Tour team at Tenerife,” Ineos sport director Gabriel Rasch told VeloNews. “We’ll be doing these races in France with most of the Tour team. Some guys, like Luke Rowe, will go to Poland because they don’t need the climbing.”
Confirmation that Froome would be leaving Team Ineos after a decade with the team for Israel Start-Up Nation in 2021 was the big news last week. Staff and riders, however, are getting down to the business of preparing for the Tour.
Defending Tour champion Egan Bernal is scheduled to return to Europe this week in a chartered flight that includes most of the top Colombian riders returning after spending months at home during the coronavirus lockdowns. Bernal, who already spent time at altitude in Colombia, will not be heading to Tenerife.
Other riders and staff will be at Tenerife to use the high-altitude perch near the top of the Teide volcano to hone fitness ahead of a return to racing.
Once the camp is over, Froome, Bernal, and 2018 Tour-winner Geraint Thomas will be racing in France ahead of the Tour. Though their final calendars are not yet finalized, all three will be racing at two or three of the following races: the Route d’Occitanie (August 1-4), Tour de l’Ain (August 7-9), and the Critérium du Dauphiné (August 12-16).
“The others will be mixing in with Occitanie, Ain and Dauphine,” Rasch said. “That should be enough racing in the legs before the Tour. No matter what, it will be the same for everyone.”
Team Ineos’s long list for the Tour includes about 10 riders. Officials refused to comment on rumors that Froome might not be chosen, due to the recent confirmation of his departure, only saying that the Tour selection will be made as it always is, around the time of the Dauphiné.