Chris Froome will return to the Tour Down Under for the first time since 2010, joining two-time champion Daryl Impey in Israel-Premier Tech’s line-up.
Froome’s 2022 season start was delayed by injury but, having shown flashes of his old form last summer on his long road to recovery from his 2019 crash, he is keen to gain momentum early in 2023.
The four-time Tour de France champion will race the six-day event for only the second time in his career, having last featured in his debut season at Team Sky, before his big breakthrough. He later raced in Australia in 2016, winning the Herald Sun Tour, and again in 2017, but this marks his return to the WorldTour season opener.
Froome said he wants to hit the ground running but that also applies to his team, who are operating at second-division ProTeam level after their relegation from the WorldTour, which meant they had to rely on a wildcard invitation to race the Tour Down Under.
“I’m really excited to be returning to Adelaide for the Santos Tour Down Under for only the second time in my career. The race has changed a lot since I was there in 2010, getting bigger and better each year, to now be one of the most important races on the cycling calendar,” Froome said
“I know the Aussie fans are some of the best in the world so I can’t wait to be back on their home soil and have them cheer us on. We have a strong team and I think we can hit the ground running with some great results.”
Froome will line up alongside fellow veteran Daryl Impey, who won the Tour Down Under back-to-back in 2018 and 2019. However, the South African, who will retire at the end of 2023, is set to play a supporting role as 22-year-old Corbin Strong takes the lead.
“The Santos Tour Down Under is always a race I get excited for and a place I love to race. I appreciate how the fans have cheered and supported me every time I race there,” Impey said.
“Although we received a late invite, I am still hoping to do my best out there and hopefully I can support Corbin Strong and the rest of the team deep into the finals. My role will be slightly different to previous years but I am motivated and I am hoping to give the best of what I have when we kick off the 2023 season in Adelaide.”
Strong is a 22-year-old Australian with a background on the track who specialises in reduced bunch finishes, which are often pivotal to the typically tight Tour Down Under.
Israel-Premier Tech’s squad also features Tour de France stage winner Simon Clarke, along…