18 May 2020

'Froome would find it difficult to win fifth title without Ineos', says cycling legend Merckx

Cycling legend Eddy Merckx believes four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome would find it ‘difficult’ to win a fifth title if he left Team Ineos.

Froome was recently linked with a move away from his current outfit following a report by Cycling News which stated that he had been approached by two teams about the possibility of a mid-season move.

Merckx is one of four men to have won the Tour de France five times (PA Images)

But Merckx, who won five Tour de France titles in 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972 and 1974, does not feel that would be the right move for the 34-year-old.

Speaking to La Stampa, he said: "I'm not sure how he is, nor if he recovered completely from the accident.

"I heard he wants to leave Ineos perhaps because he can't stand the internal rivalry with Bernal and Thomas.

"But the feat of winning a fifth Tour will be very difficult for him if he doesn't have a team at his side like he had during his four victories in France."

Froome is currently in the same team as 2018 Tour winner Geraint Thomas and last year's champion Egan Bernal.

And Bernal, who became the youngest winner of the Tour in more than 100 years when he took the crown in 2019, has gone on record as saying he will head into the 2020 race looking to secure a second successive victory.

Nevertheless, Ineos remain confident they can head into the three-week stage race with multiple options and decide the best person to lead the team as the race unfolds.

The 2020 Tour was initially due to begin at the end of June but has now been pushed back to August 29 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This has given Froome even more time to recover from the serious crash he was involved in last year that led him to miss much of the 2019 season.

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