Israel Start-Up Nation Chris Froome A Great Like Lionel Messi Says Boss Sylvan Adams

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Israel Start-Up Nation Chris Froome A Great Like Lionel Messi Says Boss Sylvan Adams

A big sporting name switching to another team is nothing unusual – but Chris Froome’s departure from Team Ineos to Israel Start-Up Nation is one of the more bizarre transfers of recent times.

Froome has gone to a team who, up until a takeover of Katusha last October, were in pro cycling’s second division – ineligible to compete in races such as the Tour de France. Think Lionel Messi leaving Barcelona to play in the English Championship, and you’ll get the idea.

There’s more to this than meets the eye, though. This is a story of a country keen to make a big impact in the sport and a cycling-mad billionaire “very excited” at the prospect of Froome – four times the Tour de France winner – surpassing Eddy Merckx to become the greatest rider of all-time.

That billionaire is Israeli-Canadian businessman Sylvan Adams, Israel Start-Up Nation’s co-owner. “Everybody pays attention to the winner – and what we have started will hopefully be amplified by Chris’ presence,” Adams says.

“And he’s a very nice fella – I’d like to have a beer with him.”

Why did Froome leave Ineos?

Ineos, known as Team Sky until last year, have been a dominant force in cycling over the past decade. They have the biggest budget and the top names, and have won seven of the past eight Tours de France.

Froome, whose abilities as an endurance athlete won him the race in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017, had seemed perfectly suited to the team.

There’s little doubt that the environment at Ineos had been harmonious and geared towards his substantial success for many years. But in the months leading up to Thursday’s announcement that the team would not renew his contract, relations were a little more fractured.

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Behind the scenes, there were feelings that Froome’s camp lacked the grace expected in negotiations, given the support the team had shown him during his rehabilitation following his crash a year ago during a practice ride at the Criterium de Dauphine. He sustained multiple injuries, including a broken leg.

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Froome was also believed to have been frustrated with the team for not reprimanding last year’s Tour winner Egan Bernal over comments made in April. The Colombian told reporters that, if he was in a winning position at this year’s Tour, he would not move over to let Froome lead the team. Insiders felt the quote was fair enough, given the high status of both riders.

Had things been handled differently in recent weeks, Froome could well have seen out his career at Ineos.

Israel Start-Up Nation Chris Froome A Great Like Lionel Messi Says Boss Sylvan Adams

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