DUESSELDORF, Germany — Chris Froome said Wednesday he is close to agreeing a contract extension that would keep the three-time Tour de France champion with Team Sky until 2021 — ample time to try to catch the elite group of riders with five titles.
The 32-year-old Briton said he hopes the details will be finalized by the time the 2017 Tour starts Saturday in Duesseldorf, Germany.
"We are in the final processes now of agreeing an extension," he said. "Hopefully by the time we start on Saturday, the t’s will be crossed and i’s dotted."
A deal to 2021 would give Froome more opportunities to edge closer to and possibly catch Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain — who all won five Tours.
At Sky, Froome benefits from one of the strongest, best-funded teams in cycling, with eight support riders all dedicated at this Tour to the goal of a fourth title for the reigning champion.
"I’m as motivated as ever," Froome said.
On a Tour route not necessarily suited to his strengths this year, Froome said he aims to ride aggressively and opportunistically, looking to put distance between himself and key rivals whenever chances arise.
"It’s got to be an aggressive race," Team Sky leader Dave Brailsford said. "We’ve come up with a game plan which we are looking forward to trying to roll out."
If he makes the start of the 2020 Tour with Sky, Froome would be 35. The oldest ever Tour winner was Firmin Lambot, who was 36 when he won for a second time in 1922.
Froome said he feels capable possibly of racing for five or six more years at the top level, "at best."
"I came into the sport quite late and I feel as I’m still quite young in cycling terms," he said.