chris Froome

Cycling Weekly - - CW AWARDS -

To say Chris Froome’s year has not been nor­mal would be an un­der­state­ment — lining up for the Giro d’italia came with huge fan­fare as he tried to hold all three of cy­cling’s Grand Tours at once.

The Team Sky man hadn’t been in con­vinc­ing form lead­ing up to the start in Is­rael — a fourth place over­all fin­ish at the Tour of the Alps was his best re­sult be­fore head­ing to Jerusalem. The aim to slowly build through­out the race so he could hold his form for the Tour de France took a hit be­fore it had even started when he crashed on a prac­tice lap of the time trial course. The first of many time losses in the first week would fol­low that day.

How­ever, one of the most mem­o­rable Grand Tour rac­ing days in re­cent history was to come as Froome took hold of the pink jer­sey in dra­matic fash­ion. Sens­ing a chink in Si­mon Yates’s ar­mour, Sky set a blis­ter­ing pace on the bru­tal early slopes of the Colle delle Finestre. Froome at­tacked and soloed to the fin­ish 80km away, 3.23 ahead of Tom Du­moulin, as Yates rolled in nearly 39 min­utes down.

A solo at­tack to take a Grand Tour by the scruff of the neck hadn’t been seen for a gen­er­a­tion and it elec­tri­fied the cy­cling world while giv­ing Froome the hon­our of be­com­ing only the third rider to hold all three Grand Tours at once.

Mean­while, the still un­re­solved sal­b­u­tomal case loomed omi­nously as the Tour de France ap­proached.

This would rum­ble on right up un­til the week be­fore the Grand Dé­part in the Vendée re­gion, be­fore a con­ve­niently timed con­clu­sion from the UCI came the day af­ter ASO threat­ened to ban Froome from com­pet­ing. A boo-filled team pre­sen­ta­tion set the tone for the en­tire race. Af­ter an un­der­whelm­ing start, Froome re­cov­ered in the Alps then fell off the podium be­fore a strong fi­nal time trial put him on the podium in Paris. Given how Froome re­acts to de­feat, though, a fifth Tour ti­tle in 2019 wouldn’t be a sur­prise.

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