Monday, 25 July 2016

Chris Froome - one of the greats?....

As Chris Froome crossed the line arm-in-arm with his Team Sky teammates to confirm his victory in the 2016 Tour de France he joins a small, elite group of cyclists and becomes Britain's first ever three-time winner.

Froome becomes only the eighth man to win three or more Tours - and will now have his sights set on the record jointly held by Jaques Anquetil, Miguel Indurain, Bernard Hinault and Eddy Merckx - All five-time winners of sports most grueling prize.

Eddy Merckx sent out a stark message to the rest of the cycling world last week. He does not see anyone capable of beating Chris for the next few years. He added that he was impressed by Froome - but not by his rivals.

"Chris Froome is a very great champion" said the Belgian legend " I think he can win more Tours. If you look at the guys who are behind him, I don't see anyone who can beat him in the next years. He's complete; a good time-triallist, good at ascents, he's overall, he's the best of the moment - even his teammates are as strong as his rivals"

The last point is perhaps the bone of contention that has emerged this year as far as Froome and Sky are concerned. With speculation regarding the legitimacy of Froome's performances far less pronounced than in 2013 and 2015 - largely because of the way he built his lead this year - on descents and time trials and flat stages - attention has turned to the power of the Sky team, with bitter rivals complaining that Sky have bought up an army of potential grand-tour winners and got them all working for the three-time champion.

There is a truth to it. Sky's .'pain-train' at the front of the peloton keeps the pace high - even on climbs - daring anyone to have a go and put themselves in the red - and then shutting them down if they do. Sky undoubtably have the numbers and talent to control things - with four riders in the top 20 of the general classification.

None of this is a concern for Sky though - quite right! - It is up to others to come up with a plan to stop them. No other team, seemingly, came with a game plan even to try?. As Chris Froome pointed out - no other team have eight riders working with the sole purpose of getting their team leader to Paris in as quick a time as possible.

Geraint Thomas added - "Maybe its boring? - but we don't get paid to make it an exciting  - we get paid to win the race"

Whatever - there'll be teams working on a strategy to break down Sky's dominance - and that will make things more exciting - but I'm hoping Sky will hold out - Chris Froome is one of cycling greats and I'd love to see him become a five-time winner.

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