A Canadian-Israeli billionaire and avid cycling fan is planning to “make history” after persuading four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome to join the Israel Start-Up Nation team for the start of 2021 cycling season.
The Israel Start-Up Nation outfit and the signing of Froome as team leader are the brainchild of Sylvan Adams.
“We are committed to building a supportive Grand Tour team around Chris, such that we can make history together, as we compete to be the best, and achieve our principal goal: winning the Tour de France,” said Adams.
Cycling’s Grand Tour races are the Giro d’Italia, the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España. Froome has won all of them during his carer.
Adams helped establish the first professional cycling team in Israel in 2015, called the Israel Cycling Academy, which included riders from Israel and abroad.
The team made its first major mark on the international scene three years later, when Adams brought the opening stages of the 2018 Giro d’Italia to Jerusalem. It was the first time that any stage of the race had taken place outside of Europe.
This year, the team was granted a WorldTour license, ensuring the riders will compete in the sport’s biggest races, chief among them the Tour de France.
‘Best rider of his generation’
“Chris is the best rider of his generation and will lead our Tour de France and Grand Tour squad,” said Adams.
“We hope to make history together as Chris pursues further Tour de France and Grand Tour victories, achievements that would make a serious case for Chris to be considered the greatest cyclist of all time.”
The long-term signing means the 35-year-old British cyclist will likely finish his illustrious career with the upstart team.
“I’m really excited to be joining the ISN family. I look forward to challenging and being challenged by their talent and continuing to strive for the success that I’ve enjoyed up to now,” Froome said.
Froome will compete this season with Team Ineos, formerly known as Team Sky, with which he won his four Tour de France titles, as well as wins at the Vuelta a Espana and the Giro d’Italia.
Now aged 35, Froome sustained “multiple serious injuries,” including a fractured leg, in a horrific crash during a practice ride in France in June 2019.
This year’s Tour de France, originally scheduled to start on June 27, has been pushed back by organizer, the Amaury Sport Organization, to 29 August due to the pandemic.
Froome is one victory away from equaling the record number of Tour wins held by Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain.