Tour de France great Chris Froome to leave Team Ineos

Chris Froome in Leeds at the finish of the 2019 Tour de Yorkshire. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.Chris Froome in Leeds at the finish of the 2019 Tour de Yorkshire. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.
Chris Froome in Leeds at the finish of the 2019 Tour de Yorkshire. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.
Four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome will leave Team Ineos - formerly known as Sky - when his contract expires at the end of the current cycling road race season.

Froome will race for Ineos in this year's Tour, which has been delayed until the end of next month, before an expected move to Israel Start-Up Nation for the 2021 season.

Team general manager Sir Dave Brailsford said: "Chris’s current contract comes to an end in December and we have taken the decision now not to renew it.

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"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."

The 35-year-old last won the Tour de France in 2017 and has since seen teammates Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal both ride into Paris wearing the yellow jersey.

The move will allow Froome to regain his status as an undisputed team leader, but in a statement he described his decade with Sky/Ineos as "phenomenal".

He said: "We have achieved so much together and I will always treasure the memories.

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"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."

Froome joined Sky in 2009 and announced his arrival as a major talent the following year when he placed second in the Vuelta a Espana, then the highest finish by a British rider in a Grand Tour.

The Kenyan-born all-rounder was runner-up to teammate and fellow Briton Bradley Wiggins at the 2012 Tour de France and went on to win the race in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Having been promoted to winner of the 2011 Vuelta after Juan Jose Cobo was disqualified, Froome took the overall red jersey again in 2017 and completed a clean sweep of Grand Tour titles when we placed first in the following year's Giro d'Italia.

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His hopes of a record-equalling fifth Tour de France crown were shattered when he suffered multiple serious injuries in a training crash.

Bernal, then aged just 22, went on to win the race and establish himself as Ineos' brightest hope for future success.

Brailsford said: "Chris has been with us from the start; he is a great champion and we have shared many memorable moments over the years, but I do believe this is the right decision for the team and for Chris.

"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.

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"At the same time, it will also give other members of our team the leadership opportunities they too have earned and are rightly seeking."

Brailsford added: "I am excited about the talent we have right across the team at the current time and all our collective focus is on preparing for the season ahead.

"Like everyone across the sport we are all looking forward to the start of racing next month."

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