Chris Froome

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Chris Froome to leave Ineos, join Israeli team

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Chris Froome‘s contract with Team Ineos will not be renewed after this season, and he will join Israel Start-Up Nation for the rest of his cycling career.

“We are making this announcement earlier than would usually be the case to put an end to recent speculation and allow the team to focus on the season ahead,” Ineos manager Dave Brailsford said in a press release. “Given his achievements in the sport, Chris is understandably keen to have sole team leadership in the next chapter of his career – which is not something we are able to guarantee him at this point. A move away from Team Ineos can give him that certainty. At the same time, it will also give other members of our Team the leadership opportunities they too have earned and are rightly seeking.”

An hour later, Israel Start-Up Nation announced Froome will sign with its team on Aug. 1 to start next season.

“Chris is the best rider of his generation and will lead our Tour de France and Grand Tour squad,” co-owner Sylvan Adams said in a release. “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.”

Israel Start-Up Nation, whose current roster includes Grand Tour veteran Dan Martin, made its Grand Tour debut at the 2018 Giro d’Italia. It was announced in January to make its Tour de France debut this year.

Froome, 35, is coming back from major injuries in a June 2019 crash, trying to win his first Tour de France since 2017. Younger Ineos riders Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal won the last two Tours de France.

The team must sort out its leadership for this year’s Tour, which begins Aug. 29, but will now be without the greatest Grand Tour cyclist of the previous decade come 2021.

Froome first joined the team — then Team Sky — in 2010. In addition to his four Tour crowns, he won a Giro d’Italia and two Vuelta a Espana titles.

“It has been a phenomenal decade with the Team, we have achieved so much together and I will always treasure the memories,” Froome said in the Ineos release. “I look forward to exciting new challenges as I move into the next phase of my career but in the meantime my focus is on winning a fifth Tour de France with Team Ineos.”

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Chris Froome: Pre-Tour de France crash like ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ scene

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Chris Froome said the aftermath of his high-speed crash into a wall before the Tour de France was “like a scene from ‘Grey’s Anatomy,'” when first responders tended to him. His plan is to return to the Tour de France next year at his usual fitness, perhaps better.

Froome hit the wall of a house at 34 miles per hour after losing control on a training ride for the Criterium du Dauphine on June 12, three weeks before the Tour de France. He broke his right femur, elbow and several ribs, was in intensive care and underwent surgery for several hours.

“I’ve got no recollection at all,” of the crash, Froome said in a video published Saturday. “I can only really go off what people who saw the crash happen, I can go off what they said. Basically, what I understand is it was a perfectly straight piece of road, slightly downhill, so I was going at quite [a bit] of speed. I went to go and clear my nostrils, and I was also going past some buildings at the same time. The wind funneled through between buildings and taken my front wheel and basically tried to hold it up and ended up veering off the road into a wall at quite high speed.”

Froome, a four-time Tour de France champion, said the first responders were a coach, mechanic and a Team Ineos director who were in a car behind him while he was preparing for a time trial at the Criterium du Dauphine.

“One of my first questions was, ‘Am I going to be all right for the Tour de France in a few weeks’ time?’” Froome remembered. “And they very quickly put that out of my mind. They couldn’t obviously give a prognosis, but they said it looks like your leg’s broken and your arm doesn’t look good, either. So, no, you’re not going to be on your bike. I think those first moments were the moments that really sort of hit home, and I took it on board that I’m not going be racing the Tour de France this summer. It almost felt like a scene from ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ or something. It just hit home that, I, actually there’s more going on.”

Froome was airlifted to Saint-Etienne hospital in central France. He remembered barely being able to breathe after surgery, coughing up blood as his lungs were damaged by the broken ribs and a broken sternum.

“It was scary when I did come around the morning after the operation and just felt how hopeless I was lying in that bed,” he said.

A surgeon told him that he could make a 100 percent recovery. Froome said he’s ahead of “all the predictions that were made” for how long it would take to get to this point — starting weight-bearing while doing three to four hours of physical therapy every morning and two hours of exercises in the afternoon.

“The only goal I’ve set myself, personally, is to get to the Tour de France next year,” he said. “That’s what’s driving me. Week by week, I can set myself little goals in terms of allowing myself a little bit more movements or small goals. But, for me, the underlying goal is to get to the start of that Tour de France next year, in 2020, and to be at a similar or better position than I was this year.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Chris Froome wins 2011 Vuelta a Espana

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AIGLE, Switzerland (AP) — Chris Froome has become the 2011 Spanish Vuelta winner because of Juan Jose Cobo’s disqualification for blood doping.

The International Cycling Union says Cobo did not meet a deadline to challenge his three-year ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The UCI says Cobo’s suspension announced last month is confirmed, and he is stripped of results at the 2009 world championships and Vuelta, and the 2011 Vuelta which he won.

Froome was runner-up eight years ago and becomes the winner of his first Grand Tour title, and seventh overall.

Froome also becomes the first British winner of any of the major stage races — the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France, or Vuelta.

That honor was held by Bradley Wiggins, the 2012 Tour winner who rises from third to be runner-up at the 2011 Vuelta.

The 38-year-old Cobo is retired from racing. His doping ban was announced days after Froome suffered season-ending injuries crashing at the Dauphine race in France.

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