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« Widras Bike Cover | Main | Rights and Privileges »

Froomey, take a leaf from Eddy’s book

Eddy Merckx (Above.) won the Tour de France in 1969, 1970, 1971, and 1972. He opted not to enter the race in 1973, even though he would miss the opportunity to win the race five times in a row. The reason: Animosity from the French fans.

Instead the rode the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a Espana and won them both that year. By doing that, he was able to show the world he was still the best rider, at the same time appease the French fans by giving someone else a chance. Merckx came back in 1974 to equal Frenchman Jacques Anquetil, in winning the TDF five times.

Anquetil did not win five in a row, he won in 1957, then four consecutively from 1961 to 1964. If Eddy Merckx had not opted out of the 1973 Tour, he no doubt would have won that year too, making it a record six wins all in a row. And that would have really pissed off the French fans.

Jacques AnquetilBy opting out of the Tour de France in 1973, Eddy Merckx still goes down in history as the “Greatest Rider Ever,” by the sheer number of races the won over the years. He chose to honor people’s feelings over his own ego.

What a shame that Chris Froome is not taking a leaf from Eddy’s book and opting voluntarily out of this year’s Tour de France. Why would anyone want to participate in an event when no one wants you there?

The Tour Organizers don’t want him there, the UCI doesn’t want him there, and many fans of the sport, including myself, don’t want him there. And the French fans most certainly don’t want him there.

Please Froomey, pack up your bicycle and stay home.


By insisting that he will ride the Tour because he legally can, is offering up a big “Fuck You,” to fans everywhere. I’ll be checking the result daily, but. I probably won’t be watching the race, I simply will not waste my time.

Froome will no doubt go down in history as a great rider, but will never be in the same class as Eddy Merckx. And to those who will say Eddy Merckx doped too, if you dismiss Merckx you dismiss every other great cyclist though history, including the likes of Fausto Coppi, and Gino Bartali, etc.

Jacques Anquetil never hid that he took drugs and in a debate with a government minister on French television said only a fool would imagine it was possible to ride Bordeaux–Paris on just water.

The pros took amphetamines, it was an open secret, and was accepted until British rider Tommy Simpson died of heat stroke during the 1967 TDF, by driving himself to exhaustion assisted by amphetamines.

It didn’t stop doping, it was just no longer an open secret, and was denied and not talked about. Amphetamines like all stimulants, give a boost of energy, but take too much and the result is counterproductive.

The doping issue today is a different matter with sophisticated medications like EPO. Now it is a case of those with the most money can buy the best scientists to administer the optimum amount of dope, bribe officials if caught, and hire the best lawyers to fight the case if it goes to trial.

Chris Froome and team Sky are abusing the Therapeutic Use Exemptions. (TUE) Salbutamol is allowed to treat Froome’s asthma, but there is a limit to how much can be used before it becomes a performance enhancer.

Froome went double the allowed amount, and is now throwing a ton of money into proving the test is flawed. Instead of just ‘fessing up and saying, “Oops, I didn’t mean to but I took too much…Sorry.” Show some class, like Edddy Merckx and sit this one out, while this whole mess gets sorted.


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Reader Comments (9)

To say amphetamine doping and EPO doping are a different matter is just plain wrong. Just because there is now a difference in technology does not change the fact that cheating is cheating, whether it was done during the Merckx/Simpson era, or in subsequent times, and it is inexcusable in all cases.

Furthermore, if Eddie Merckx chose to sit out the 1973 TdF because of the animosity of the French fans(?), that was his choice, but I think we should consider what the reason for that animosity was. Because he was consistently winning the Tour and a French rider wasn't? If that was the case, I would suggest those type of negative feelings should not be respected from any quarter and certainly should not be accepted as a reason to voluntarily disqualify oneself from competition.

The same applies in the case Froome, who has so far only been judged as guilty by the the media and some of the public (and maybe some jealous members of the Peleton). I'm sure I'm not the only member of the cycling public that is looking forward to a competitive TdF, will be watching every stage, and rooting for Chris Froome to finish with a yellow jersey on his back.

June 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDon

EPO is old hat (and besides, you might die in your sleep), it's all blood doping these days.

June 26, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterlemmiwinks

Half of what I watch the tour for is the scenery. Weird, but even tho I’m an avid cyclist and have cycled all over the world, I’m not a fanboy - just love the coverage of all the races.

June 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterTom M

Agreed Dave, by staying away that would be the classy thing to do and be best for the sport. However, team sky haven’t shown much in the way of class when their dubious practices have been revealed, so this is just business as usual, get froome his 5 tours and 4 in a row grand tours. Mission accomplished.

I’ll swatch the tour with a focus on; the tactics of 8 rider teams. / Hoping Peter Sagan smashes the green jersey after last years travesty.? How Quick step will do on the Roubaix stage./ Kittell and Cavendish both needs a win, but will Gavaria with the better organised Quick Step lead out train beat them. / What will the Movistar dynamics look like with Quintana, Landa and Valverde all ready to rumble.

Lots of other stuff going on in the tour, apart from watching how Geraint Thomas plays his cards, will he get fed up with towing froome around for a win or carry on as usual,? (I get the feeling he is getting a bit jaded with the controversy,) froome and sky- I couldn’t give a monkeys.

June 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterKeith

“Froome went double the allowed amount”

That’s not strictly true. We don’t know how much salbutamol (not actually a banned substance) Froome took. All we know is the the urine test showed twice the threshold that triggers an ‘adverse analytical finding’. He has to explain why.

Why it’s taking so long to come to a decision is another question.

June 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterYoav

I support the "all or nothing": Allow any PED to the health limit to anybody or forbid all of them. Actually I prefer the latter. If you have some temporary problem, skip some race. If you have some chronic problem (e.g. asthma), do not race at all. Anyway, it is all money and law, so no longer sport. I am lately watching only highlights since for me the intrigue and excitement I felt when I was a child watching the duels between Indurain and Rominger (mainly) has just gone. It is a huge pity.

June 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPedroMJ

For the last 8 years, I haven't watched any Pro bike racing. It's more enjoyable to stick around and watch a 50 minute Cat 3 Crit.

June 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterBill K

I thought so too, until I read that Froome got a fat check to start the Giro. Apparently some people do want him there!

If you look at football coverage, even by broadsheets and the BBC, a lot of it is about intrigue, 'will you still be here next season', etc. not just 4-4-2 vs 4-3-3.

I guess having a rider in his situation takes care of the intrigue aspect!

June 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

I knew Armstrong was doping, and I still watched the Tour. I knew Contador doped, and I still watched the Tour. I know Froome is doping and.....I just don't care about the Tour anymore.

I love the sport, and it has been spoiled for me over the decades. I gave it chance after chance. I was amazed by the rider's endurance and ability to attack on a climb after weeks of riding. It has been spoiled by knowing that each and every one of those guys doped. Now, Sky and Froome irk me so much with their attitude that I just couldn't care less anymore.

No, doping is not going anywhere. But this one former fan doesn't care to watch anymore either. I'll ride my bike around and enjoy that and know I'm more of a cycling enthusiast than the guys on the tour because I can accept the limitations of my body and still keep challenging it to be better without having to cheat.

July 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterYohann M

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