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Chris Froome returning to Tour de France but not as team leader

73rd Critérium du Dauphiné 2021 - Stage 8

LES GETS, FRANCE - JUNE 06: Christopher Froome of United Kingdom and Team Israel Start-Up Nation during the 73rd Critérium du Dauphiné 2021, Stage 8 a 147km stage from La Léchère-Les-Bains to Les Gets 1160m / #UCIworldtour / #Dauphiné / @dauphine / on June 06, 2021 in Les Gets, France. (Photo by Bas Czerwinski/Getty Images)

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Four-time winner Chris Froome is returning to the Tour de France as a support rider.

He will try to help Canadian rider Michael Woods win for their Israel Start-Up Nation team.

“Although my ambitions this year won’t be as leader, I hope to add my experience and support to the team as best I can as road captain,” Froome said in a statement on the team website.

The British rider won the Tour in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017, but missed the last two races after a career-threatening crash. He broke a femur, elbow and ribs in June 2019 after hitting a wall while training at the Criterium du Dauphine.

“After two years away from the Tour de France, I can’t wait to get back,” Froome said. “It has been an arduous journey since my crash but this has been one of my biggest motivations.”

In the Criterium du Dauphine this month, Froome was 47th, 41 minutes off the pace, and 36 minutes behind leading teammate Ben Hermans.

The Tour starts in Brest on June 26 and ends on July 18.

Froome is a seven-time Grand Tour winner having also won the Spanish Vuelta in 2011 and 2017 and the Giro d’Italia in 2018.