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Team Ineos confirmed on Thursday morning that the four-time Tour de France champion’s contract will not be renewed. They decided to make this announcement early to let the team focus on the season ahead. Israel Start-Up Nation is a likely candidate to sign Chris Froome.

“Chris has been with us from the start,” Sir Dave Brailsford, the team’s principal, said. “He is a great champion and we have shared many memorable moments over the years but I do believe this is the right decision for the Team and for Chris. Given his achievements in the sport, Chris is understandably keen to have sole team leadership in the next chapter of his career – which is not something we are able to guarantee him at this point.”

Chris Froome said: “It has been a phenomenal decade with the Team, we have achieved so much together and I will always treasure the memories. I look forward to exciting new challenges as I move into the next phase of my career but in the meantime my focus is on winning a fifth Tour de France with Team INEOS.”

We’ll keep you updated as the story develops.

UPDATE: Chris Froome signs with Israel Start-Up Nation

Froome said: “I’m really excited to be joining the ISN family. I look forward to challenging and being challenged by their talent and continuing to strive for the success that I’ve enjoyed up to now. ISN’s impact on the sport is rapidly expanding, and I’m energised to be along for the ride. I feel we can achieve great things together.”