Froome earns chance to stake claim for Tour

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport Cricket - By Tom Cary CY­CLING COR­RE­SPON­DENT

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

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