Chris Froome, winner of the Tour de France on four occasions, will not be participating in this year’s edition. This announcement was confirmed by his Israel-Premier Tech team on Friday.
Froome, a 38-year-old veteran of the sport, has participated in the prestigious Tour de France a total of ten times during his career. This means he will not be at the starting line in Bilbao on 1 July, marking the first time since 2011 that a fit Froome has missed out on the event.
Instead, the Israel-Premier Tech team has elected to go forward with Michael Woods, a stage winner at the Vuelta a España, as their leader. The Canadian will form part of an eight-man squad that includes Guillaume Boivin, Simon Clarke, Hugo Houle, Krists Neilands, Nick Schultz, Corbin Strong, and Dylan Teuns.
The team’s management acknowledged that their decision for this year’s Tour de France selection was difficult, but they have chosen the eight riders they believe are most capable of meeting their performance goals. They also recognised the depth and talent within their rider group, which unfortunately meant some were left out of the selection. Their decision was based on the roles needed to optimise their chances of securing stage wins.
Froome, one of the leading General Classification riders of his generation, has a total of four victories in the Tour de France, clinching the yellow jersey in 2013, 2015, 2016, and 2017.
In a recent dialogue with French publication DirectVelo, the Brit disclosed his early-year struggle with a minor tendon injury. Nevertheless, he insisted that the Tour remained his “ultimate goal”. He further shared his fondness for the Tour, acknowledging that it brings together the best riders in their prime form. Despite not aiming for the overall win, Froome expressed a keen interest in securing a stage victory.
In last year’s edition, Froome achieved an impressive third-place finish atop Alpe d’Huez during stage 12, as part of the day’s breakaway. However, it’s been a while since his last victory – the 38-year-old has not won a race since his Grand Tour title at the Giro d’Italia in 2018.
Froome has only missed the Tour de France twice in the last decade – in 2019 and 2020 – after a serious crash into a wall during the 2019 Critérium du Dauphiné course recon left him with multiple fractures and a loss of four pints of blood. Last year, he was forced to withdraw from the race in the third week due to Covid.
“It was a tough decision to select our Tour de France team this year but we feel we selected eight riders best suited to fulfilling our performance objectives. “The fact that we had a difficult decision to make when looking at our long list shows the strength and depth of our rider group, and unfortunately we could not select everyone. We carefully looked at the necessary roles to fill when it comes to hunting for stage wins and chose our eight riders accordingly.”Kjell Carlström, Israel-Premier Tech team manager