Froome earns chance to stake claim for Tour
Chris Froome has been confirmed in Team Ineos’s line-up for this week’s Criterium du Dauphine as speculation intensifies over his Tour de France selection.
An Ineos team containing last year’s Tour winner, Egan Bernal, as well as the two previous Tour winners in Geraint Thomas and Froome, were well beaten by Jumbo-Visma at last weekend’s Tour de l’Ain.
Froome and Thomas, both working as domestiques, showed glimpses of form, the former in particular with a fierce turn on the Grand Colombier. But they dropped well back after doing their work, prompting some to suggest they were not ready for the Tour.
“Some other big riders from other teams were also dropped early today,” Bernal said. “That doesn’t mean that they won’t be up there in the GC at the Tour de France. We need to be calm and to know that we’re just here to train.”
That has not stopped L’Equipe from speculating about Froome’s place in Ineos’s line-up for the Tour, where he hopes to be vying for a record-equalling fifth win. It claims Ineos have already chosen seven of their eight riders, with Bernal to be joined by Pavel Sivakov, Thomas, Jonathan Castroviejo, Dylan van Baarle, Michal Kwiatkowski and Tao Geoghegan Hart. If true, it would leave Froome – who is joining Israel Start-Up Nation at the end of the year – fighting with the likes of Luke Rowe, Ineos’s road captain in recent years, for the final spot.
Ineos say they have yet to decide, with the Criterium du Dauphine likely to make up their minds. Ineos will include all three of their Tour winners – Froome, Thomas and Bernal – plus Sivakov, Castroviejo, Van Baarle and Kwiatkowski. The race, which runs from tomorrow until Sunday, has been reduced from its usual eight stages to five.
Former team-mate and Tour winner Sir Bradley Wiggins said it was not too late for Froome, who is returning from last year’s lifethreatening accident at the Dauphine, to make Ineos’s Tour squad.
“There’s still time to get improvements and Froome will improve with every race because of where he’s coming from, which was basically intensive care,” Wiggins said in his Eurosport podcast yesterday.
Wiggins, meanwhile, called for the introduction of sprint lanes at the end of stages following the horrific crash at last week’s Tour of Poland that led to Fabio Jakobsen, the Deceuninck-Quick-Step rider, being placed in an induced coma.
Point to prove: Chris Froome has been named in the Ineos line-up for the Criterium du Dauphine, starting tomorrow