Although it may be a bit different due to the absence of competitions, there’s always a time in each cycling season when transfers are made and the rumours and speculation surrounding racers and their teams start appearing...
So maybe Ineos have thought about a Plan B. Not only from a financial perspective, we’ve seen how hard that is because not every team has their budget, the time of the year to move is unusual as well because we’re used to the big signings being made in June or July and this year we’re going to see deals done in October or November.
Besides that, the difficulty that all teams are currently facing is something to be taken into account, too.
If Froome is looking for a sporting project that will bolster his chances of winning the Tour and if he shows his potential at the beginning of the Tour, we could see Ineos aligning with him instead of Bernal, maybe in that instance he should think about it.
For Froome now, it is not about team strategy or money, it is about ambition and the will to conquer the fifth Tour and enter into the Tour de France record books.
When there’s adversity, that’s when the champion strives, grows and comes back stronger. So, I think that Froome will come back at the same competitive level. But is that level is enough to beat Bernal?
He’ll be in optimal condition, yes, he’s 35 and is getting older and there are some young talents like Egan in his own team - or others such as Tadej Pogaçar or Remco Evenepoel - that will make it complicated for him to win, but he’ll come back at the same level.
It’s all a marketing thing about Froome winning the fifth Tour and the young talent willing to win many more Tours… that’s just the theory. The maturity of Egan Bernal is almost scary.
A SLOW START FOR NTT
About the teams, NTT is sponsored by Dimension Data, but as far as I know they only have a one-year agreement. Bjarne Riis came in as part of a bold strategy but as far as I know they have a one-year deal in place.
In their favour, the start of the season was completely different than the start of 2019 when they started badly. Unfortunately for them the season has been divided into two halves, so that might have stopped the improvement they were experiencing.
But it is my own experience that when you start negotiating with a team it’s hard.
How a mankini-clad fan claimed a major Tour de France coup – Story Time with Carlton Kirby