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Contador: It is ‘unthinkable’ that Froome will leave Ineos in 2020

Contador believes Froome should only consider leaving Ineos after he has tested his legs against teammate Egan Bernal.

Everyone has an opinion on whether Chris Froome should, and would, leave Team Ineos. Alberto Contador, a former foe of Froome’s and winner of multiple grand tours, has thrown his take into the ring.

Recent reports suggest that Froome is looking to move team, possibly as early as this summer in advance of the Tour de France. However, Contador told Eurosport Friday that he believes it “unthinkable” that Froome would make a move away from Team Ineos this year.

Froome is hunting a record-equalling fifth yellow jersey this year, a feat that is threatened not only by the likes of Jumbo-Visma pair Primoz Roglic and Tom Dumoulin, but also by his own teammate, Egan Bernal. The young Colombian recently made clear he would not sacrifice his own chances of winning the Tour in service Froome or Geraint Thomas.

“If Froome is looking for the sporting challenge of winning the Tour, and he sees at the start of the Tour de France that Egan Bernal is superior, maybe he should consider a departure then, but not now because of the team strategy,” Contador said. “It is then a matter of his own ambition to win the Tour for the fifth time and make history.”

“Froome has more than enough experience,” continued the retired Spaniard. “If you can win the Tour four times, it’s because you have the experience of previous years. He has managed to deal with difficult situations and setbacks. So it is unthinkable for me that he will switch teams this year.”

While believing that Froome should not be hasty in moving away from a team that has delivered him to seven grand tour victories, Contador also cited the big-bucks paypacket Froome commands as a stopper on an imminent move. Recent reports suggest that Froome is earning €4.5m / ($4.9m)  per year at Ineos – a sum very few teams can afford at the best of times, let alone when squads are cutting salaries and sponsors are on the rocks as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

“Not all teams have such a budget that they can accept his salary,” Contador said. “The major purchases will be made in October and November this year.”

While the world speculates over Froome’s long term future, the Ineos stalwart will be racing against Warren Barguil in the opening round of the virtual knock-out tournament Challenge of the Stars Saturday.

“At a time like this when we are unable to race it’s great to be able to use technology to put on an event like The Challenge of Stars and bring entertainment to the cycling fans,” Froome said in a statement by event organizers RCS Sport. “I’m looking forward to taking on this new type of challenge against some of the top riders in the sport.”