Chris Froome linked with move to Israel Start-Up Nation before the Tour de France

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Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal have all been told they should prepare to lead Team Ineos - PA
Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal have all been told they should prepare to lead Team Ineos - PA

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Speculation is mounting that Chris Froome will leave Team Ineos before this year’s Tour de France, with Italian website Tuttobici reporting that Israel Start-Up Nation have offered the four-time champion a lucrative three-year deal starting on August 1.

Froome, who is out of contract at the end of the season, admitted last month that he was weighing up his options for 2021 with a number of teams said to be interested in acquiring his services. 

The 35 year-old did not mention moving on this summer but that looks increasingly like being a possibility with Froome wishing to nail down his future.

Bahrain-McLaren were mentioned as one possible option but Telegraph Sport understands there is no chance of that move happening. 

Tuttobici reported on Thursday that Israel Start-Up Nation - which was established in 2014 and is owned by Sylvan Adams, an Israeli-Canadian real estate billionaire - have offered Froome a deal starting on August 1, before this year’s rearranged Tour de France which starts on Aug 29. Froome currently earns around £5 million a year, a figure Israel would be able to match.

Any agreement would require the consent of Ineos principal Sir Dave Brailsford and it remains to be seen whether he would want one of his stars racing for a rival team at the Tour. Brailsford told the Telegraph last month that he felt Froome had a great opportunity to win a record-equalling fifth Tour with Ineos this year, with the Covid hiatus working in his favour. 

However, it is understood that Ineos are yet to offer Froome a new deal beyond this season and Brailsford may not stand in his way.

Froome believes he still has a number of years left at the top and the temptation, at 35, to sign a new long term deal will be attractive.

Against that, he must decide how badly he wants to win another Tour, and whether that would be a possibility at a young team with no track record of success. 

Although Froome would have sole leadership at Israel, there may not be the necessary support for him. Israel Start-Up currently have Dan Martin, Daniel Navarro and Ben Hermans on their books, and would surely have to sign many others to tempt Froome.

A spokesperson for Team Ineos said: “We don’t comment on speculation or rider contracts.”

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