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Froome motivated for last ride in Sky jersey

After 10 years representing Team Sky, Chris Froome hopes to give his outgoing sponsor a winning send-off at the mountainous Tour of the Alps.

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Chris Froome’s last ride in a Team Sky jersey will be across the mountains of northern Italy and Austria in the Tour of the Alps, April 22-26.

The four-time Tour de France winner added the race to his schedule after an uneven spring, and the race will mark the last time he will race in Team Sky colors.

With new sponsor Ineos set to take over in May, Froome said he’s motivated to post a good performance as a way to say goodbye to the British sponsor that backed the team from its inception in 2010.

“To win the Tour of the Alps would be a way to say a big thank-you to Sky,” Froome said. “I’m pleased to be returning to the Tour of the Alps this year.”

Ineos comes on board next month as new title sponsor, and official colors are scheduled to be rolled out at the Tour de Yorkshire in May, with Froome as the headliner. The team confirmed Ineos will also be displayed in a temporary jersey at the Tour de Romandie (April 30-May 5).

That will mean that Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Tour of the Alps (formerly Giro del Trentino) will be the final races with the emblematic Sky jersey in the peloton.

Froome, meanwhile, is hoping for a strong performance to gain some momentum going toward what would be a record-tying fifth yellow jersey in July at the Tour de France.

Froome said he went too deep at the Colombia Tour 2.1 in February and was content to ride in support of Egan Bernal at the Volta a Catalunya in March. After the Tour of the Alps and Yorkshire, Froome is scheduled to race the Critérium du Dauphiné ahead of the Tour.

Froome raced the Tour of the Alps in 2018, finishing fourth, as a warm-up ahead of the Giro d’Italia, which he later won with dramatic fashion following his solo attack over the Colle delle Finestre.

“I enjoyed the race in 2018 and it was a big boost for me heading into the Giro,” Froome said. “It’s exactly the type of racing I need at this point in my year. The [race] is a tough, punchy race, which will be a good test of where I am at.”

Other top riders starting include Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) and Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe). Bernal and Kenny Elissonde are also expected to race for Sky.

Team Sky won the race three years in a row, with Richie Porte in 2015, Mikel Landa in 2016, and Geraint Thomas in 2017. The Tour of the Alps will mark the final stage race for the Team Sky sponsor.

“This is our last stage race as Team Sky, and it’s a special one. We want to shine,” said Sky sport director Nicolas Portal. “The stages are hard, and it will be great for Chris at this time of the year. He knows it will be for his buildup to the Tour de France.”

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