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Chris Froome says it feels “rejuvenating” to have joined a new team after 11 years with Team Sky/Ineos, adding that he feels “really optimistic” about returning to winning ways at Israel Start-Up Nation.
The seven-time grand tour winner is training in California, trying to improve his form and fitness 18 months after his career-threatening accident at the Criterium du Dauphine.
Froome said the benefit of training in the States, apart from the warm weather, was the proximity to Red Bull’s High Performance Centre in Santa Monica.
“I’ve been focusing a lot this winter on really addressing some of those imbalances and weaknesses I’ve had from the injury,” he said. “I’m feeling really optimistic about the upcoming season.”
The injuries sustained in that crash in France saw Froome struggle for form in 2020, returning from the first coronavirus lockdown a long way off the pace and eventually missing out on selection altogether for Team Ineos’ Tour de France squad.
He returned for the Vuelta a Espana where again he was a long way short of his best, albeit he grew stronger as the race wore on.
“My goals haven’t changed,” he told his team’s website. “I want to get back to that top level, I want to be fighting for victories at the Tour de France and other grand tours.”
Froome, 35, added that the change in scenery had given him new impetus. “I’m 35,” he said. “I’m coming back from a big injury, year after year with the same team.
“I’ve been –it’s almost been copying and pasting every year, year on year, and changing teams at this point in my career is going to give me so much more, I guess, mental stimulation and motivation.
“It’s a whole new change. It’s a new project, a new chapter and it does feel quite rejuvenating for me.”