The news last week that the four-time Tour de France champion would be leaving Team Ineos at the close of the season rocked the cycling world, and as far as his future teammates are concerned, the 35-year-old star’s arrival on their newly-developing team will help them ascend the WorldTour.
Greipel, now 37, has confidence that Froome has the potential to return to the top of the grand tour pecking order after his long rehab and recovery following last June’s devastating crash, and that the experience will only have strengthened his characteristic grit and dedication.
“He has great potential with all his grand tour experience, and I think if Chris Froome opts for the Israel Start-Up Nation project, he definitely intends to prove it to everyone again,” Greipel told Radsport News.
“We will then see whether he can equal his previous achievements, but I definitely trust him that he can continue to perform at the top level. It was not an easy injury, so it will be a big challenge, but he will want to face it.”
Whether Froome is able to regain the form that has netted him seven grand tour titles will be put to the test this summer when he rides his final Tour de France in Team Ineos colors this summer. Greipel feels that whether the wins keep coming or not, Froome’s charisma and attitude will be a boon to a team that is still developing and harmonizing after rising to the WorldTour this year following the merger with Katusha-Alpecin.
“No matter for which team he rides, Chris Froome brings a lot of professionalism and is, of course, also attractive for sponsors,” said Greipel, adding that Froome will ensure “that our team’s WorldTour path continues to point upwards.”
Greipel, who recently signed with the team through 2022, is one of the elder statesmen of the squad, adding an experienced ballast alongside the likes of Rory Sutherland and Ben Hermans. With Israel Start-Up Nation also forming a Continental-level development team at the start of this year, Froome will be able to work with veterans such as Greipel in guiding young talent.
Freddy Ovett, the 26-year-old Australian who took victory at the virtual Tour de France Sunday, is one of the second-tier team members. He shared Greipel’s enthusiasm for the addition of such a talismanic figure to the squad.
“When I heard that he was coming in, it was extremely exciting and huge for Israel, huge for the team,” Ovett said after his Zwift victory this weekend. “And yeah, you know, we’re excited to see what he can do and how we can learn off someone who’s arguably one of the greatest cyclists of all time.”