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« Chicken or the Egg? | Main | A traditional hip flask with a cycling design »
Friday
Jul112014

Disappointed but not Heartbroken

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.

 

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Reader Comments (3)

Dave, not disagreeing with the overall sentiment about his lack of bike handling skills (and he's far from being alone in this in the pro peloton), but you got the situation surrounding the crash in stage 4 totally wrong.

http://giant.gfycat.com/InnocentBewitchedKiwi.gif

1) he could not possibly avoid the crash per se, there's nothing you can do if somebody in front of you (I believe it was Jens Keukeleire from OGE) swerves abruptly and takes out your front wheel. not if you are Froome, Nibali, Sagan, or even the World Champion in bike trial.

2) the fault for that crash really falls (pun intended) squarely on the Sky team, there were no teammates protecting him and creating a security buffer in front of him, just a single team mate to his left and back(!)

I can't quite get to liking him for the same reason, and his fugly spider-like riding style, it just hurts me to watch him ride his bike. :/

July 11, 2014 | Unregistered Commenters

The Show must go on…
Froome is “The Story” since Wiggins won’t go along with the script. I counted 12 photographers on the scene each time he crashed; each represents lots of money, and that is just the still photographs. “The Story” started with Lance and continues to grow bigger each Tour. England, thus Sky, is at the heart of today’s version.
And of course we all know riders (teams) will do whatever it takes to win. It brings in lots of money, and as we saw the first three days in England gives millions of people that aren’t used to watching a bike race many Selfie opportunities.
Just as the music industry is rife with Constructed Stars, there are few pros with panache, or a natural style on the bike. The bicycle is and always should be an elegantly simple machine. To think that pros cannot be the same is a shame. Just who is the biggest loser?

July 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

Dave, great stuff as always. Froome gets really poor press in England, the kingdom of Sir Bradley. However I have just read " The Climb" by Froome and dave WAlsh and I now a different point of view. He didnt really ride in a group till about 5 yrs ago, rode a lot on his own, had a totally different background and still manages to get by. Its an extraordinary tale .
Sir Brad is not slagged off too much, but its clear that he is the star Sky and even Cavendishes wishes count for little.
As I say I have a new point of view and a greater respect for the man and if he can do it ........ regards Jim

August 11, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjames reilly

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