Team Ineos have declined to comment on a report that Chris Froome is considering a mid-season switch.
Froome’s contract with the British team expires at the end of 2020 but the four-time Tour de France champion - who turns 35 next week - is adamant he has many years left at the top.
Froome is currently working his way back from a career-threatening accident suffered at last year’s Criterium du Dauphine. He told Telegraph Sport last month that he believed he could win this year’s Tour de France to tie with some of the greats of the sport on five victories, adding that if he did it would constitute “one of the biggest comeback stories in sport”.
The competition within his own team is fierce, however. If this year’s Tour ends up going ahead, Froome is likely to be sharing leadership duties with the two most recent champions in Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal. A report published on cyclingnews.com on Thursday claimed that two teams had “approached Froome with interest in either a mid-season or end-of-year transfer”, adding that if he moved mid-season “it would potentially give the British rider complete leadership at the Tour”.
Asked for comment, Froome told the website: "Following my crash last year and subsequent recovery I am extremely confident that I can return to Tour winning form. Which team that will be with beyond 2020, I don’t know yet. I have no intention of retiring any time soon. If anything, the crash has given me a renewed focus and drive. I have worked harder than I ever have to get back to where I am. I won’t let that be for nothing."
While Froome will undoubtedly be sizing up his options in the final year of his contract, a mid-season switch would be sensational given the hugely uncertain economic and sporting outlook. No one is even sure whether this year’s Tour - already postponed by two months due to coronavirus - will go ahead.
A spokesperson for Team Ineos said: “We don’t comment on speculation or rider contracts.”