I am sorry to see Chris Froome out of the Tour de France. Disappointed but not devastated. Froome is a rider who can be exciting to watch, but at other times annoying and frustrating.
He is exciting to watch when he is going uphill fast, and the likes of Alberto Contador can barely hold his wheel.
On the other hand, he can be extremely frustrating because he seems to lack the basic bike handling skills needed to keep the rubber on the asphalt.
He has this annoying habit of riding with his head down, even when around other riders. Holding your head up, and looking where you are going is “Bike Riding 101.” One of the basics that every novice first learns.
One can argue that Wednesday’s Stage 5 that included cobble stone sections used in the Paris – Roubaix race should not have been included in the Tour, but the race organizers could not have predicted the atrocious weather, wind and rain. And they did cancel two sections of cobbles that were deemed too dangerous to ride in the wet.
That said, Chris Froome fell twice and retired before he even reached the cobbles. The main problem was, he was nursing an injured wrist from a fall during the previous day’s race.
Despite reports to the contary as to who was to blame, I was watching the race live that day, and as I saw it the fall never should have happened. It came on a straight section of dry road, Froome was riding in a safe place at the front of the pack, when he simply ran into the rider ahead, fell and brought down another rider.
The other thing about Froome is, he is obsessive about his weight, almost to the point of anorexia. Those pencil slim wrists will not take a lot of beating. All the more reason to stay upright.
Vincenzo Nibali rode a great race. Not known as a classics rider, and not that experienced on the cobbles. Never-the-less Nibali is a superb bike handler, and the other thing is he seems to excel in cold, wet conditions. He did so in 2013 when he won the Giro d’Italia.
He had two of his Astana team members with him for most of the race, but at the same time Nibali often took the initiative, and chased down riders when gaps opened up, rather than just sit on the wheel of his team mates and let them do all the work.
Belkin rider Lars Boom won the stage, with the Astana duo, Jacob Fuglsang and Nibali (Picture above.) second and third, 19 seconds down, but ahead of Cancellara and Sagan, (Both experienced classics riders.) just over a minute down.
Chris Froome’s Sky Team members, Richie Porte and Geraint Thomas after initially waiting for Froome, fought their way back to finish 20th and 21st on the day. American riders Andrew Talansky and Tejay Van Gaderen were within seconds of the Sky duo.
Big loser of the day was Alberto Contador, who is now 2 ½ minutes down. However, there is a long way to go, and the mountain stages still to come. Anything can, and no doubt will happen. All the afore mentioned riders are still in the running.
Had Froome not quit he probably would have lost a ton of time and been out of the running anyway. This year’s Tour still promises to be a cliff hanger, plus I will not have the frustration of seeing Chris Froome constantly fall on his ass.
Which is why I am not overly disappointed that he is gone.