For Tour de France legend Bernard Hinault, the simmering leadership tensions at Team Ineos is a problem of their own making.
Hinault, who won the Tour a record-tying five times, spoke of the rivalries that have been brewing within the British team in the past months. Cracks in Team Ineos’ armor emerged last month when reigning Tour champion Egan Bernal spoke of his unwillingness to sacrifice his Tour chances for co-leaders Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome. Shortly afterward, rumors circulated that Froome was eyeing out a new team to race for in the near future.
“It is a problem they created with Ineos itself,” Hinault told AD. “They have attracted the best riders – Bernal, Thomas and Froome – to win the Tour every year. And they all want to win. It is up to the team management to make decisions. They haven’t done that in the past. Only in the mountains is it decided who can go for the overall victory in the Tour. The decision on the leadership should fall there. ”
Froome, currently on four Tour de France victories, is chasing after his fifth yellow jersey this summer, a feat that would put him on par with Hinault, Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, and Miguel Indurain. Despite Froome’s injury setback, the French legend backs him nonetheless.
“I think Froome still has that in it,” Hinault said. “Two years ago he was not good enough and Geraint Thomas won. He was not there last year. I believe he will succeed in 2020.”
Should Bernal’s warning of racing for himself rather than for the team be realized in the Tour this summer, Hinault feels Froome should make a move from the team he has raced with since 2010.
“If he doesn’t win the Tour this year, because he has not received support from his teammates, it is better to move to another team where he is sure that he is the only leader for the Tour,” Hinault said.
While the question of leadership rumbles on in the Ineos camp, one thing that is certain is that their controversial Italian teammate Gianni Moscon will not be riding any grand tours this year. The 26-year-old confirmed Tuesday that he would be all-in for the classics in the restarted season.
“My big goal is the October classics, which coincides with the Giro d’Italia,” Moscon told Spazio Ciclismo. “The Tour will end close to what, for me, will be the highlight of the season. Team Ineos will start to win it and those who will be part of the team for the Grande Boucle will not be able to save their legs.”