Chris Froome takes second with Israel-Premier Tech in first race of 2024

Brit and team runners up in Tour du Rwanda team time trial, behind Soudal Quick-Step Development

Clock11:56, Sunday 18th February 2024
Froome was part of the Israel-Premier Tech team that took second on the opening stage of the Tour du Rwanda

© Dario Belingheri / Velo Collection via Getty Images

Froome was part of the Israel-Premier Tech team that took second on the opening stage of the Tour du Rwanda

Chris Froome made his 2024 racing debut on Sunday on the first stage of the Tour du Rwanda, and kicked off his year with a second place alongside his Israel-Premier Tech squad in the opening team time trial.

Israel-Premier Tech, one of four ProTeams in action in Rwanda, were bested by the Soudal Quick-Step Development team who won the 18km TTT in Kigali. Jonathan Vervenne now leads the race.

The Belgian squad, led by AlUla Tour breakout star William Junior Lecerf, posted a time of 20:32 in the Rwandan capital, 36 seconds up on Froome and co at 21:08. Lotto Dstny Development took third.

The four-time Tour de France winner was joined by Guy Sagiv, Itamar Einhorn, Joe Blackmore and Moritz Kretschy in the Israel-Premier Tech line-up for the TT, and took on an early pacing role before dropping off as three riders crossed the finish line together. Froome finished 5:21 down on the rest of his team.

Read more: Chris Froome plans cycling academy in Kenya but first wants to 'finish off' career with Tour de France fireworks

However, the times on this stage do not count towards the GC of the eight-day race in Rwanda, so Froome will start stage 2 on equal time with his rivals.

In 2023, Froome also raced the Tour du Rwanda, going on a long but narrowly unsuccessful breakaway on one of the stages. He told local media this morning that he had “unfinished business” with the race as he kicks off his 2024 season in Africa.

As well as his personal ambitions and links to the continent of Africa, Froome’s presence in Rwanda is partly to do with Israel-Premier Tech’s relationship with Rwanda. Last year, they launched their ‘Field of Dreams’ cycling centre Bugesera, part of the team’s Racing for Change initiative. As such, it makes sense for them to send a big star to the 2.1 race.

Read more: ‘Geraint Thomas proves that age isn’t a factor,’ says a resilient Chris Froome

There are a number of jerseys from the WorldTour on the start list, but all have sent their development teams to Rwanda, with the youth-focused squads of Soudal Quick-Step, Astana-Qazaqstan, UAE Team Emirates and Groupama-FDJ in action this week.

After Rwanda, Chris Froome is expected to follow a stage race-focussed programme through the spring, as he builds towards a long hoped-for Tour de France return.

Find the full results of the Tour du Rwanda stage 1 TTT here.

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