Well all is quiet on the eve of the 2018 TDF, You Excited much? Personally, I’m currently feathering. As much as I love the action of the Giro and Vuelta, nothing beats the TV coverage of the TDF. Ned Boulting, the dry wit of Gary Imlach and the insider takes from David Millar & Chris Boardman on ITV. Then on Eurosport there is the weird and wonderful combination of Carlton Kirby’s immense general race related knowledge V’s Sean kelly’s Cal-cu-lations!!
But what i’m looking forward to the most is letting the racing take the headlines ( hopefully). Unless you’ve been living on Love Island, then you’ll be acutely aware of the pantomine that occurred this week surrounding Chris Froome. The will he -wont he race conundrum, with ASO forcing the issue.
- Firstly ASO (The organisers of the Tour De France) thought they would take the governance of Cycling into their own hands by announcing they would not allow Chris Froome to race whilst the case against him for his adverse analytical finding was still outstanding. (Cry’s of magnifique reverberated around the French countryside and beyond.)
- Fast Forward 24 hours and the UCI carpet bombs ASO’s sniper shots with the announcement that they would be closing the case against Froome- on the recommendation of WADA. You could dive down a very big Donnie Darko white rabbit hole around pharma-kinetic testing etc but lets not. Long story short, Froome is back in the TDF. If you like watching bike races then you want to see the best riders duking it out. Right? Love him or loathe him, I’m no fan boy but this makes for better racing IMO.
On anticipation of the haters that will inevitably come scurrying back out their bunkers, just like they did after his Stage 19 revelatory win en route to his Grand Tour Grand Slam, I would like to pose the question…
“Was Chris Froome a worthy winner of this years Giro”?
The majority will likely say no but IMO he was (wow swim against the tide eh). Here’s why i think that.
There is a lot more to becoming a champion than meets the eye. Especially the little furry eyes of the trolls, who appear to be off the group think that a superior sport person, has to be doing it by ill gains. Or it’s only because they have the best team, best gear or hottest girlfriend. Last time I checked, this wasn’t a birthright to success!
There is no clear blueprint for success, but there are traits required to wire the operating system of a champion: Desire, Discipline, Resilience, Learning, Belief, Focus, Sacrifice, self control and a shit load of hard graft to name a few.
Chris Froome has been displaying these traits in abundance the last few seasons, regardless of how many salbutamol chugs or not . And furthermore the speculative Stage 19 in question, he was the embodiment of these traits in perfect harmony.
- LEARNING – STRATEGY: He ‘Formigal-d’ Dumoulin learning from his own errors . In 2016 Froome lost the Vuelta on Stage 15 to Formigal when Contador and Quintana set out on a breakaway. Froome decided to wait on team mates to help reel them in and then couldn’t pull them back. Sound familiar with Dumoulin on the transition after the Finestre attack?
- DESIRE TO LEARN: strengthen your weakness’. Check out all the time he gained on the descents on the BBC article. This is a rider who only a few season used to descend like bambi on ice or Thibot Pinot. He now arrows down the mountain like Bode Miller.
- INTRINSIC BELIEF: Although he had swung a haymaker up the Zoncalon and connected, he was still back on the ropes the next stage, yet he had intrinsic belief to what he was still capable of and most importantly, never knowing when he is beaten.. See the messages to trainer Tim Kerrison in BBC article
- DO your homework: Team Sky recce’d the stage and set about a new feeding strategy to maximise carb absorption ( BBC report) No other team was doing that and saying they didn’t have the personnel available like Team Sky did, is just a cover up for lack of preparation.
- SACRIFICE and HARD GRAFT: This could have backfired spectacularly but at least he had the nuts to go for it and he went all in. Devoid of the usual mass of team mates and tactics that Team Sky are notorious for.
And this questionable Stage 19? To me, this was a show of sporting excellence that is up there with arguably one the finest sporting performances of our generation. Obviously the nay sayers will take this performance as proof that Team SKY are some nefarious organisation complicit in ill-gotten gains. Thats why I understand their stance to publish a full holistic report of Froome’s Stage 19 performance from meal plans, to personal messages to power readings. CLICK HERE FOR LINK to help quench the fanning flames and validate the performance
An excellent read for all the data miners out there. But if like me you just want tae get on with watching the race, then the rub is as follows
- Team SKy planned for Froome to lose weight towards the end of the race
- Their attention to detail for the Finestre stage was incredible
- Froome’s Descending is where he made the majority of his gains
It’s amazing how every few generations most sport throw up a dominant champion like Woods, Federar, Taylor and Froome whom ultimately move their sport to the next level of what we thought was previously impossible. Tour- Vuelta double ( can’t be done in modern era) Vuelta/Giro back to back, (pushing it ?) Tomorrow we have the start of a potential Giro/Tour double; (cant be done unless you have the high seas coursing through your veins like ‘Il pirata’ Marco Pantani did.) Froome is re-writing what we thought was impossible. Hopefully this will lead to more GC contenders mixing it up and not just saving themselves for one or two Grand Tours
Was Chris Froome a worthy winner of the Giro? YES
Vive Le Tour… Happy Rolling
Here’s a link to Mark Cavendish’s >>stage guide for this year