Tuesday, June 11, 2013

To Froome or Not to Froome?

To Froome or not to Froome- that is the question heading into this year's Tour de France. Do I support the Kenya born Britenya Sky man, or do I not??? It's a curious scenario to be in- for the UK to have such an embarassment of riches to be even asking this question, something that was unthinkable even just a few years ago. However, I think it's a valid question as to whether one should automatically support a rider just because they share a passport with you, and Froome certainly has some reasons for me not to warm to him so much:
1./ He has yet to show any sense of a personality in any interview / press release I've seen him in. The whole Wiggins spat over the past few months spoke of someone not confident in their position as team leader and didn't do him any favours. Unlike Wiggins, Froome does not have any counter culture associations (be that Mod or otherwise), which might be fair enough, but at that level of sport it's nice to try and show some level of personality depth beyond the usual 'one day at a time' / 'game of two halves' autocue blurb. Witness the turnaround in the public's perception of Andy Murray following his Wimbledon final tears on court / emoticon speech episode- at least it showed he was human. Is Froome a robot?
2./ His style of riding makes him look more like a triathelete than a pro cyclist... The wobbling shoulders when climbing, the sprint that flaps around like a wet towel, the nervous facial expressions whenever he takes off those nasty white glasses. Everything about his body language when riding is just not something to either aspire or warm to somehow. I'm not expecting a Boonen or a Gilbert all in attacking style, but I'm not sure he's even ridden a one day classic, let alone been in the mix for a win. Compared with other Grand Tour riders like Rodriguez, Evans, Valverde, Cunego, Nibali and even Contador, who all ride, and sometimes win, big one day races, it's a bit of a shame not to even show face. Even Wiggo has ridden (and suffered) Paris Roubaix- just, well, because. If you're going to claim you're not sky high, it might be best not to follow Armstrong's lead too much.

So, I guess I've made it clear that Froome is not my all time favourite Brit Tour rider, but will I support him? I guess given his rather colourful past, the alternative of a Contador podium top step is even less appealing, but you can bet he'll at least do it with some panache if he does win. However, if a genuinely clean rider does step up to the plate and win with some style and display some emotion (without looking like they're going for a swim for afters), I'd be happy to support them, whatever their Nationality.

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