Cycling Weekly - - FROOME - By Paul Knott, fea­tures writer

Rank­ing yearly achieve­ments can of­ten be skewed through re­cency bias. Two Bri­tish Grand Tour win­ners have come along since Chris Froome’s Giro d’italia vic­tory, mak­ing it al­most seem a life­time ago that Froome com­pleted the GT set in late May.

How­ever, the achieve­ment of win­ning the Giro d’italia was as much a tes­ta­ment to the men­tal strength to block out ev­ery­thing go­ing on around him, as it was to his out­stand­ing phys­i­cal ca­pa­bil­i­ties on the road from Is­rael to Italy.

Whether Froome should have been rac­ing in the first place can be de­bated all day, but the sit­u­a­tion he was faced with by no means helped him and, as he now ad­mits in th­ese pages, hin­dered his hopes with con­stant me­dia and fan scru­tiny through­out the sea­son lead­ing up to the Giro and dur­ing the race it­self. Usu­ally his rac­ing does the talk­ing but this wasn’t a stereo­typ­i­cal Froome win. For two weeks he ground through sub­par stages, drop­ping out of the elite group and out of the top 10 as late as stage 13 — it looked as though Italy wasn’t for him.

The bru­tal­ity of the Giro's course and weather would claim Thibaut Pinot, Fabio Aru and Si­mon Yates as vic­tims. Even as the race’s stel­lar line-up de­pleted, Froome still had to con­tend with de­fend­ing cham­pion Tom Du­moulin push­ing him all the way.

Win­ning atop Monte Zon­colan was seen as a race sal­vaged suc­cess­fully, but what was to fol­low five days later sin­gle-hand­edly took the race and cy­cling his­tory by the scruff of the neck.

Cy­cling is built on ro­mance and epic mo­ments; Chris Froome and Team Sky have gained de­trac­tors for not liv­ing up to this mantra with their robotic ap­proach. But the way Froome rode from Ve­naria Reale to Bar­donec­chia was any­thing but.

Rid­ing away from his ri­vals on the gravel roads of the Finestre to take stage and over­all honours will be one of those mo­ments we only ap­pre­ci­ate the mag­ni­tude of when Froome is no longer rid­ing — the im­ages will live long in our me­mories. When you be­come the first rider since Bernard Hin­ault to hold all three Grand Tours, in 1982-1983, and when you con­sider that Eddy Mer­ckx is the only other rider in his­tory to achieve such a feat, you know you are in de­cent com­pany and have done some­thing pretty spe­cial.

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