Tour de France Column by Toby Miles - Chris Froome tribute
PUBLISHED: 16:44 10 July 2018 | UPDATED: 16:44 10 July 2018
Read Toby Miles' Malliot Blanc Column as the 18-year-old aspiring professional cyclist pays tribute to Chris Froome.
In July 2013 I watched my first Tour de France. Chris Froome dominated it and I couldn’t help but cheer him on as he gained more than four minutes on Nairo Quintana over three weeks.
His polite, humble character was endearing, his goofy style stood out and his performances colossal.
After facing constant interrogation throughout that first Tour following Armstrong’s downfall, Froome told us on the Champs Elysees: “This is one yellow jersey that will stand the test of time.”
Inspired, I read Froome’s 2014 autobiography and was moved by his at times calamitous ascent from two-wheeled adventures on the dirt roads of Kenya to the pro peloton.
He carved out his own opportunities on his journey and it taught me nothing could stand in the way of such persistence. In my early teens, Froome’s story encouraged me to dream.
Team Sky’s perfect physical and technical preparation is well known but of all his world class attributes I believe it’s Froome’s composure which sets him apart.
The uncontrollable Giro d’Italia was supposed to be the Grand Tour least suited to Froome. Sky had never won the race and with the added strain of his UCI investigation looming, it was set to be his toughest test.
The race got off to a woeful start as crashes and massive time losses all but put him out of sight. Unfazed, he battled on.
As planned, Froome came into form in the final days and as the effects of his crash wore off, he staged a thrilling comeback to win in Rome.
He’d nailed his preparation, batted away the questions and put all the pressure aside. An unforgettable ride and perfect example of managing the mind.
I’d previously speculated what type of chaos would ensue if Froome, Usain Bolt or Lionel Messi were exposed as ‘dopers.’ When I heard of the adverse analytical finding in December, I wondered if it was happening.
I was left wondering for nine months. I had faith in Froome though. I’d felt safe buying into his message about never harming his sport and found his insistence that ‘when the facts are out people will see things from my point of view’ more believable than the previous uses of that line.
Now cycling can put this behind it, just like any other false alarm. If anything Froome should be further admired following this: only a true champion could win under those circumstances.
The Tour is going to be amazing now. The spectacle can be enjoyed to its fullest with no black clouds.
Can Froome make it five? I wouldn’t bet against it.