Chris Froome faces a crucial test at the forthcoming Criterium du Dauphiné – the same race where his career was nearly ended by a crash in June last year – if he is to clinch a place in the Ineos Grenadiers line-up for the Tour de France later this month.
The 35 year old, who has his sights set on a record-equalling fifth yellow jersey finished in 41st place overall, more than 26 minutes behind team-mate and reigning Tour de France champion Egan Bernal at the Tour de l’Ain, which finished today.
Bernal was himself pipped to victory in the three-day race by 19 seconds by Primoz Roglic of Jumbo-Visma, who took his second successive stage win to
The Slovenian was one of three riders from the Dutch team in the top five of the general classification – Steven Kruijswijk was fourth and George Bennett fifth.
That show of strength suggests that in this topsy-turvy season, where top-level racing was suspended for almost five months and form is only now becoming clear – the dominance of Team Sky and latterly Team Ineos at the French Grand Tour faces its greatest threat since Vincenzo Nibali, then with Astana, won the 2014 edition.
Other than that, the British team has been all-conquering at the Tour de France as far as the overall is concerned, with Sir Bradley Wiggins’ victory in 2012 followed by Froome’s triumphs in 2013 and 2015-17, Geraint Thomas’s win in 2018 and Bernal prevailing last year.
And with Froome’s forthcoming move introducing an element of unpredictability – would he ride for himself, or for the team and sacrifice his own chances – and Sir Dave Brailsford having amply demonstrated in the past that he isn’t bound by sentiment when it comes to selection, it’s easy to imagine that the four-time winner may be at home in Monaco if the race starts, as planned, on 29 August a few kilometres along the Cote d’Azur in Nice.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.