“Everyone is wondering about Chris. He is on the list" - Chris Froome in contention for Tour de France return confirms Israel - Premier Tech DS

Whatever happens in the rest of his career, Chris Froome has already written his name into the annals of Tour de France history. However, is there still one final chapter to be written in the story?

Recently, respected French outlet L'Equipe reported that the four-time winner of the Maillot Jaune is set to lead the Israel - Premier Tech lineup at the 2024 edition of the Tour de France, as much due to sponsor pressure than anything. These rumours and reports were quickly shut down by Froome himself, as was similar talk of an in-team feud between the Brit and his Canadian teammate, Michael Woods.

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Speaking to Velo, Israel - Premier Tech's sports director, Rik Verbrugghe also shunned the L'Equipe report, although he admitted Froome is definitely in contention for a Tour de France return after missing out on selection twelve months ago. “Everyone is wondering about Chris. He is on the list. He came out of a good altitude camp, and we will see how it goes,” Verbrugghe explains. “It’s creating the right balance, it’s not just what you’re going to show this week. It’s going to help a lot if he’s performing at a really high level, there is no doubt.”

“Everyone is wondering about Chris. He is on the list" - Chris Froome in contention for Tour de France return confirms Israel - Premier Tech DS
Four-time Maillot Jaune winner Froome's last Tour de France appearance came in 2022

Whilst Froome didn't exactly set the world alight at the recent Criterium du Dauphine and in turn force himself to be selected, the Brit's teammate, Derek Gee did leave a lasting impression, finishing 3rd overall in the biggest result of his career to date. “If he can do the same as he did at the Giro (Gee was a star of the 2023 edition of the Giro d'Italia ed.) at the Tour we would be very happy,” Verbrugghe says. “We want a good team at the start of the Tour so that we can have an objective every single day at the Tour, that is important. We don’t want only to bring climbers. We want to have that balance, to be offensive. We know that GC stages are not for us, so all the other stages we should try to win them.”

“We have to create that balance to be competitive in every stage, except the GC stages,” the sports director concludes. “All the guys are in good shape. It’s a question of not getting sick or crashing in these weeks before the Tour, and we can fine-tune the selection.”

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