Chris Froome is gunning for a return to the Tour de France next season after Israel-Premier Tech owner Sylvan Adams claimed he “didn’t earn his spot” at this year’s edition.
“We were a little team and overnight we were hoping to become contenders at the Tour,” Adams said at the time. “It did raise our profile, but this isn’t a PR exercise. My idea was, ‘Wow, we’re going to have somebody to be relevant for the GC at the Tour de France’ and that hasn’t happened.”
Froome maintained a dignified silence during the Tour, in which the team won a stage with Michael Woods, and in Japan ahead of Sunday’s Saitama Criterium has reiterated his passion for racing and firm intention to see out his contract with the squad.
“We’re in contact relatively regularly but no, no hard feelings,” Froome told Cyclingnews when asked about Adams’ commentary.
“I mean his frustrations are understandable but, yeah, that’s how it is. I’m contracted for another two years. I signed a five-year contract when I joined. I still feel like there’s more in the legs and I want to go out having given it my all. I’m not going to give up on it.
“I’ve had much worse said about me.”
Froome transferred from Ineos to Israel Start-Up Nation, as the team was then called, back in 2021, when he was coming back from a life-threatening crash at the 2019 Criterium du Dauphine. He had to learn to walk again after colliding into a wall at 37mph (60km/h) during a time trial recon. At the time, he was the benchmark of Grand Tour racing, and he believes on course for victory in that edition of the Dauphine and try to take a fifth Tour.
“I don’t think I’ve really talked about it that much, but just before that crash I couldn’t wait for that day specifically, that time trial, I was raring to go,” Froome recalled.
“I’d set three PBs in the training camp just before that Dauphine, so I was back to 2015 kind of numbers, so I was really looking forward to that time trial especially. I felt as if I was on my way to winning that Dauphine, which obviously [as the] last race before the Tour, I was in a great place.
“Cycling is full of ‘what ifs’ and ‘had things been different’, but it’s not really something that I harp on too much. I just know I was in a great place to…