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Leadership and long-term contract keys to Froome move

Four-time Tour winner set to join Israel Start-Up Nation in 2021 with open-ended deal.

Chris Froome‘s future will be with Israel Start-Up Nation, a team that’s never raced the Tour de France.

Coming on the heels of the announcement that the four-time Tour winner would leave Team Ineos at the end of 2020, Israel Start-Up Nation followed that up by confirming that Froome, 35, will join the newly elevated WorldTour team for next season.

Officials did not reveal details for the deal, calling it a “long-term” contract, and adding that Froome would end his career in new team colors without putting a specific year on things.

The open-ended deal and clear leadership responsibilities were keys for Froome to join the Israeli-backed team, which will make its franchise Tour debut in August. Financial details were not revealed, but Froome was among cycling’s richest racers, with a deal at Team Ineos worth an estimated $5 million per season.

“We are committed to building a supportive grand tour team around Chris, such that we can make history together, as we compete to be the best, and achieve our principal goal: winning the Tour de France,” said team co-owner Sylvan Adams.

Froome’s arrival marks the end of speculation about his future with Team Ineos, and confirms the rapid ascendency of Israel Start-Up Nation since Adams, a Canadian-Israeli real estate billionaire, joined team ownership a few years ago. The team started out as a Continental-level team five years ago, and with Adams’ backing, raced the 2018 Giro d’Italia after he underwrote the high-profile and sometimes controversial “big start” in Israel that year, the same edition that Froome won.

Adams, 61, had been courting major teams about a merger before working out a deal to take over the Katusha license in 2020, opening the door for the team to join the WorldTour this season. Adams is not shy about his ambitions to promote cycling in Israel and deliver a Tour de France winner, which he hopes he’s found with Froome.

“This is a historic moment for ISN, Israel, Israeli sports, our many fans all around the world and, of course, for me personally – a moment of enormous pride,” Adams said Thursday.

Chris is the best rider of his generation and will lead our Tour de France and Grand Tour squad,” Adams continued. “We hope to make history together as Chris pursues further Tour de France and grand tour victories, achievements that would make a serious case for Chris to be considered the greatest cyclist of all time.”