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Froome: Tour de France has been "an amazing journey"

Daniel Benson
July 20, 2013, 21:05,
July 20, 2013, 22:04
Second Edition Cycling News, Saturday, July 20, 2013
Tour de France, Stage 20
A thumbs up from a happy Chris Froome (Team Sky)

A thumbs up from a happy Chris Froome (Team Sky)

  • A thumbs up from a happy Chris Froome (Team Sky)
  • Chris Froome dispatched all but two of his rivals with this attack
  • Chris Froome (Sky) relieved to put two of three hard Alpine stages behind.
  • Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) rode away from Froome for second on the stage

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Maillot jaune overwhelmed with enormity in final kilometers

On Sunday, as night falls in Paris and the crowds gather on the Champs Elysees for the final curtain call of the 100th Tour de France, Chris Froome will cross the line and claim overall victory.

Of course Froome must navigate the final 135.5 kilometres safely from Versailles, but baring accident he will assume the customary position on the top step of the podium.

In his winner's press conference, located two kilometres from the summit at Annecy-Semnoz, the relief and raw emotion were clear on Froome's face.

"To sum it up, for me, what this represents, the journey I've taken to get here from where I've started, riding on a little mountain bike on dirt roads back in Kenya to be right here in yellow, in the Tour de France, the biggest event on our calendar, it's difficult for me to put into words," he said, the fragmented alliance of words perhaps an indication that a Tour title had not quite sunk in yet.

"This really has been an amazing journey for me," he replied with after his second question.

"The race has been a fight every single day, cross-winds, rain, mountains, good days, bad days, the team has come under pressure on different days."

It seems like an eternity has passed since his slip on the opening stage, but since then he has blanketed this year's race with his own personal dominance. Alberto Contador briefly threatened, while Nairo Quintana and Joaquim Rodriguez found themselves racing for second and third for most of the race. The much vaunted ‘Spanish alliance' of course never materialised and Froome's could even let his two main rivals dance away on the final climb of the race, such was his advantage.

At times, on the rare occasions when's Sky's blue line of defence was breached, as they were on the road to Bagnères-de-Bigorre, Froome single-handedly managed the situation. In other instances, as with Alpe d'Huez and Ax 3 Domaines, Richie Porte proved his worth with key displays.

"On one occasion I was left at the front on my own and there were other days when I had teammates with me right until the end. The Tour really has had everything thrown at us and I think it's only fitting for the 100th edition, it really has been a special edition this year."

The Vuelta boost

Froome's rise through the ranks of professional cycling has been rapid, and that is partially why some doubt his performances, despite the reassurances from Froome and his team that he is a clean legitimate winner, and that health issues were the central explanation as to why he has been a late bloomer in the sport.

The 2011 Vuelta certainly marked a watershed moment in Froome's career. Up until that moment he was a rider of promise, but one who struggled to put together a string of results over week long stage races, let alone the Grand Tours. When he signed for Sky in its debut season in 2010, Geraint Thomas and John-Lee Augustyn [former teamates of Froome at Barloword] were looked upon with just as much if not more hope. Froome certainly didn't have 'Grand Tour winner in the making' written all over him.

The Vuelta, in his second season with Sky, changed everything. He climbed to second overall and relegated teammate Bradley Wiggins into third. Froome may even have won that race had Sky raced differently [he finished 13 seconds behind winner Juan Jose Cobo].

"I think the first time that I thought I could be a GC rider, to contend in races like the Tour de France, was during the 2011 Vuelta. Up until then I found it very difficult to keep my performances consistently high throughout a stage race," he said.

"I would have good days and showings of what I was able to achieve, but I was never able to back it up. That Vuelta was the first time I was able to do that. That gave me a lot of confidence and belief in myself, that I do belong in the group of riders at the front of the general classification."

After the Vuelta, Froome played understudy to Wiggins at last year's Tour, picking up second overall, a stage win and the nod from Dave Brailsord that he would lead the team come next July.

Since then Sky has stamped its authority on the stage racing programme. There have been blips, the Giro d'Italia and Trentino stand out, but the majority of races have bent to the team's will and Froome's power.

Handling the doping questions

Froome has faced obstacles off the road as well as on it during this year's race. The innuendo, the speculation, and the assumptions have been undercurrents that have sailed through all of Sky's press conferences during this race. Questions surrounding former team doctor Geert Leinders and a new zero tolerance policy on the team came up since last year, while the arguments over power data, VO2 Max and transparency promise to rumble on as cycling looks to establish credibility post USADA's investigation into Lance Armstrong and the US Postal Service team.

Sky has certainly been at pains to stress their clean stance, doing more than other teams in releasing data but Froome accepts that the yellow jersey, now more than ever comes with a responsibility, both to shoulder the lion share of doping questions but also the targeted ones that a winner must accept for his own performances. All the while as a number of rivals have perhaps been given easier rides.

"It has definitely been a challenge. It's understandable, 100 per cent understandable given where the sport has come, the history of the sport," Froome said.

"I think whoever was going to be in this position, whoever was going to be win the yellow jersey was going to come under the same amount of scrutiny, the same amount of criticism from journalists and fans. I accept that, I completely understand. I'm also one of those guys who have been let down by the sport and I just hope that through winning this year's Tour I'll be able to help change that. I know it's going to take a lot more time, but we're willing to try and do everything it takes to show that the sport has turned around.

"It hasn't taken away from the happiness. It's made it more challenging, but if anything that makes it more of a reason to celebrate. It's another obstacle that I think I've overcome, myself and my teammates."

This evening though, as Froome and his teammates head to Versailles they will toast their win: a second title in the bag for Sky, a company that asks its subscribers to 'believe in better.'

"Everyone keeps telling me that this is life changing, but I don't wish to change and I hope things don't change too much for me," Froome said.

"I would have loved to have ridden away and tried to win the stage today but I didn't have the legs in the last 2km and I also felt overwhelmed with the feeling that I'd actually done this."

This Tour certainly had drama and excitement, even if the likelihood of a Sky victory increased with every pedal stoke after Ax 3 Domaines. As Brailsford has made clear, this was always going to be Tour in which the winner would have to face questions over both the past and their own performances. And as Froome's beacon-like yellow jersey crosses the line under the night sky in Paris, each spectator must decide if they – in this post Armstrong era - believe in better and if they believe in the best at this year's Tour.

The Chicken More than 1 year ago
I believe in JULLYBUTT more than I believe in Froome & Sky.
Wattie More than 1 year ago
I'm sure Chris Froome and the Sky team really care about what you BELIEVE.
TShame More than 1 year ago
I wonder if Wiggins will show up to congratulate him?
philpaque More than 1 year ago
Oui, incroyable!
Chris Todgers More than 1 year ago
Like we care! We're taking the Yellow jersey back to the UK for a second year running and we will be enjoying it until 2014. Well done Froome - thoroughly deserved. Signing off until next year. Will leave you lot to continue to debate doping amongst yourselves! Ciao.
Ripper More than 1 year ago
OK, so you only post wrt le Tour and if it's your team doing well? That's like the definition of a fanboy Christopher. I thought you were a cycling fan. C'est la vie!
Moose McKnuckles More than 1 year ago
Spoken like a true "cycling" fan. Even Sky's fans are mirror images of American US Postal fans. It's hilarious.
Ripper More than 1 year ago
The yellow jersey is sort of being taken to Kenya though ;-)
Heymil More than 1 year ago
Well at least Froome isn't an arrogant bully like LA
Moose McKnuckles More than 1 year ago
Another fraud on the top step of the podium at the Tour de France. Guess the Brits are just as gullible as the Americans.
Radegem More than 1 year ago
Oh Dear God, the tediousness of the doping comments on this website...
Azerjaboomafar More than 1 year ago
Atleast he didn't drop a super creative Armstrong/Froome/Doping name
really? More than 1 year ago
People are allowed their opinions, one way or another. If you don't like that, don't read it...
Moose McKnuckles More than 1 year ago
There wouldn't be as many doping comments if Froome weren't such an obvious fraud.
del1962 More than 1 year ago
Benson is pathetic with his thinly disguised innuendo, and he call himself a journalist
sublimit More than 1 year ago
At least we never bought into the cancer wristband BS like you suckers.
ridein More than 1 year ago
It was about raising money for cancer research, not the yellow wristbands.
danuk253 More than 1 year ago
it was never about raising money for research, but for education and advocacy. Not a penny went to research.
Ripper More than 1 year ago
I still some people riding with those on. Hilarious!
sime72 More than 1 year ago
I did. Never liked Lance at all (I was a Jan fan myself - yes, another doper, don't start) but I liked what Livestrong stood for. I am mildly amused by the superior "told you so" attitude displayed by many people who didn't wear them, like as if they somehow knew better. I never liked Lance, never wore any USPS or Disco kit, never rode a Trek, never did any of that. I had my doubts about him and his performances. But I did appreciate where he had come from, and that he was using his influence for the good of something outside cycling. I felt that was admirable. And I stand by that - even if it can be (weakly) argued it was done to divert attention, the fact still remains that Livestrong was a success. I supported a cancer support organisation. So shoot me.
Ripper More than 1 year ago
Supporting the organization was fine. Most people did not know all the details about the Livestrong craziness. The people I see still riding with them actually also still defend LA (long story).
mononck More than 1 year ago
Moose, Brits MAY be gullible, as you say but two things are CERTAIN: they are NOT americans and they rule the world of cycling. I'm loving it!!! Woohoo!!!
Moose McKnuckles More than 1 year ago
If the Brits were Americans they wouldn't have needed help defending the Falklands from world military power...Argentina. Congrats on "ruling the world of cycling"...with a guy from Kenya.
longshadow More than 1 year ago
who lives in monaco.
ellenbrook2001 More than 1 year ago
well FROOM hes more arrogant try too win all mountain stage what an idiot he look so bad on hes bike anywhere i am sure he wont have too many friends in the peloton anymore
dingophoto More than 1 year ago
Do you have subtitles?
fantastic_dan More than 1 year ago
yes, google translate please. I'm guessing you're trying to make a point, but no one understands your babble.
bikerbruce More than 1 year ago
I understand his babble. One just needs to read and "listen". I suspect that we'd be surprised if we knew the depth of understanding of ellenbroook. I think he's an older guy who's been involved with or around cycling for many years. Granted, his English could use some improvement, but he makes some good points if you can get past the language barrier and ranting. In this case, I agree. As I watched Froome follow wheels up that climb, I cringed waiting on his attack. If Froome had the legs and won, it would be acceptable but not admirable. If he didn't have the legs and attacked--which was the case--it appears petty and excessively greedy, especially for a man with 3 stages and about to be crowned grand champion. He had followed wheels all day and this was Rodriguez and Quintana's moment. Had he allowed those two to have their moment in the sun and duke it out for the stage win, his value would have gone up significantly among his peers and the millions of naysayers. As it was, Froome missed an opportunity to win friends in the peloton and admirers all over by just continuing to follow to the top.
mononck More than 1 year ago
Your comments are ridiculous. These athletes are not there to make friends. It is a competition and they try to win everything they can. You can never take any advantage for granted. Anything can happen on the tour. You could be 5 mins ahead one day and loose everything in a fall. I suspect most of the people here (including ellenbrook) know little about cycling.
bikerbruce More than 1 year ago
You might be surprised if you knew who you were writing to. I do have a little more than a vague familiarity. If you've done much road racing, you know that if you are disliked, you can get pinched in just the wrong place. It happens on all levels. Conversely, if you have respect (closely linked to being liked), you will be given benefit of the doubt at almost all times. In fact, you need friends in life. And friend doesn't mean drinking buddy. In this case, it's someone who has a positive view of you. If you've ever had a job, had neighbors, schoolmates, or participated in athletics, you are well aware of this fact. Why do you think Froome tries to be so humble in interviews? Why do you think Brailsford begs people to believe them? You may not want friends, but they certainly do. No man is an island.
sime72 More than 1 year ago
"The athletes are not there to make friends". Oh really. What happens if you burn someone badly one day, for no reason other than "I'm not here to make friends", then the next day you get in a break up the road with them and need help. Would it be useful to have a good history with them? Or you get in a solo break and his team (who are coming dead last, decides to get on the front and hunt you down, just because. Bikerbruce speaks sense.
cmcmc72 More than 1 year ago
I think ellenbrook is also biker bruce who is also johnlennon who is also Moose Mcknuckle who is also blakeslee. Basic trolls at home alone sitting on the internet waiting for the viagra to kick in so they can switch sites. Love the cycling, love the tour de France
bikerbruce More than 1 year ago
You write as if you're very familiar with the process.
tommy_nickels More than 1 year ago
translation: Christopher Froome had the audacity to try and win a bicycle race. The people he was racing against probably did not appreciate it very much.
Dodge2000 More than 1 year ago
Yes, how terrible to try and win stages, what is the world coming to? I wish everyone would just relax and whoever wins is decided by a ballot. That way we will remove all arrogance from the peloton.
loge1884 More than 1 year ago
exactly .... so Cavendish & Kittel are arrogant buggers as well, real gentlemen would defer victory to their next ("please André, after you ...") .... maybe it could cross Ellens mind, victory being much sweeter if it's actually fought for and not just presented for free ...
malanb More than 1 year ago
a sprint finish is another story. you get points and sprinters try to win the green jersey. If some one of another team was indeed doing all the work and you were a bit weak, and just follow wheel, then yes you give the stage. It would'nt affct you in the overall ranking
MapieCyclist More than 1 year ago
Spell Check was invented for a reason.....
Daimeon Shanks More than 1 year ago
Yeah, enormity is a pejorative.
Ecrinrock More than 1 year ago
Meet the new boss...same as the old boss...
Terrence Martineau More than 1 year ago
Excellent, even handed piece of writing Daniel... best I've ever read on CN. kudos!
Pedal Pusher More than 1 year ago
You obviously don't read very widely! It read like a Sky Backgrounder. The best thing about the TDF this year was Quintana - ecstatic that he took white, mountains jersey and 2nd on podium
Fangtastic More than 1 year ago
I take it you subscribe to the froome is lance mk 2 bandwagon and believe he broke records for his climbs yet another rider who broke those same records is totally clean because he doesn't ride for sky and instead rides alongside a rider who has proven to be a doper.
Moose McKnuckles More than 1 year ago
Quintana has always been a climber. When Froome was Quintana's age, he could barely climb out of bed without zig-zagging.
Daniel Andrews More than 1 year ago
half-wit logic there camel toes. It's about incredibly suspect power profiles over the course of a 3 week grand tour. I have more reason to believe Contador and below are clean because they all peaked and then quickly faded than riders that peaked early and held it longer (fitness-fatigue curves)
Dodge2000 More than 1 year ago
Froome won mountain stages in Giro Delle Regioni 2007. It was only his second stage race in Europe. His first was when he was the manager of his own team, with him the only rider. This myth he came from nowhere is ridiculous. In 2006 he competed in the commonwealth games in TT, Road Race and Mountain Bike Race. He grew up in the Kenyan mountains. To say he couldn't climb is ridiculous
mononck More than 1 year ago
and since Quintana is clean and he beat Froome, Froome is clean as well. QED.
GoatHerd More than 1 year ago
Only a VERY small handfull of riders burst on TDF with Quintana's dominance, at such an early age. Good stage racing is a mature athlete's talent, not a young newcomer's. As for Froome's reduced palmares, pre-2010, that's typical of stage racers. What did Indurain win pre the TDF? People w/ huge palmares tend to be sprinters or all-rounders. Froome is none of those. LA had good plamares pre his TDF cheating because he was an allrounder, not a TT specialist, nor a climber.
Moose McKnuckles More than 1 year ago
No, Lance was NOT an all-arounder before his TdF cheating. He couldn't climb and couldn't time trial. Maybe you mean he was a good "all-rounder" in the sense of going round and round in a crit. He was a good one-day racer. He had ZERO stage race ability. ZERO.
Ripper More than 1 year ago
I would not bring up LA and Indurain in defence of the terrafroominator not doping. Seriously! :)
Ripper More than 1 year ago
"Good stage racing is a mature athlete's talent" - ummmm, it can actually be quite evident early on. Take the pre-EPO champs. Many of them shone at a very early age. The transfroomation is quite a different story.
Terrence Martineau More than 1 year ago
Ullrich placed 2nd in TdF at 22 and won TdF at age of 23.. Hinault- Liege and and La Flèche Wallonne age 23, 1st Tdf 24 LeMond - Giro di Lombardia, 2nd World Champs, 3rd Tirreno-Adriatico @ 21, 3rd TdF 23
longshadow More than 1 year ago
Let the investigations begin. Spin Sky Spin.
nileshshk More than 1 year ago
Froomrestrong and UKpostal r the biggest bullys in tdf this yr. Quintana will the winner of this tdf after 2 or 3 yrs for sure
Doughnut More than 1 year ago
If he doesn't get caught too.....
Skyfan More than 1 year ago
Froome raced with panache, he is well-liked by his teammates, and is articulate off the bike. There is 0 evidence of doping and a team that has tried everything to be transparent, including giving David Walsh unprecedented access and handing over power data for expert analysis. The naysayers have to have something more than simply indicting him because he won. To the Sky haters, get a life - it's guys riding bikes, after all. Last year, you hated Wiggins. Now it's Froome. The Moose Mcmorons and other clinic losers need to spend less time in mom's basement and move on...
nileshshk More than 1 year ago
34 here too
nileshshk More than 1 year ago
i missed all the panache ur talking abt got bonked called for food in no feed zone and still had the audacity to blame porte, is that the panache ur talking sky fan
Moose McKnuckles More than 1 year ago
LOL @ the Sky muppets ranting. Exact same thing we saw with the US Postal fans in 2000. It's like the intellectual sewer overflowed and spat you guys back out ,except now you're high on UK Postal instead of US Postal.
del1962 More than 1 year ago
Just because the US Postal team was a cesspit of dope, does not mean that Sky is? Guys like Dave Walsh who called out US Postal on evidence has said thet there is no such evidence against Sky, your argument that because X did it, then Y must aswell is increadibly weak Moose,
biker jk More than 1 year ago
Hired doping doctor, matching known dopers times on Madone, AX3, Ventoux, skinny guy time-trialing like Martin. These are all good reasons to suspect doping. Let's see Froome's biological passport and power data pre -2011. What has Sky got to hide?
Tour de France
Tour de France 2013