I’m not a Froome fan, or at least I wasn’t. I’m not too sure why but I just never took to him. But his actions this week in racing aggressively, attacking when tradition suggest he probably shouldn’t like on a descent or on a flat stage meant for the sprinters and taking time from his main rivals in both instances is starting to win me over. Yesterday evening Ais called me when I was in work excitedly asking if I’d seen the Tour? Of course not I answered I work much too hard to be watching cycling when I should be working….
What happened I asked? Froome had to run the last part of the climb without his bike Ais went on. There was a crash or something and he had no bike and he was running up the mountain. When I got a chance to check it out sure enough there had been a crash with 2 motorbikes caused by crazy spectators on the Mont Ventoux stage. Froome was faced with the situation that he had no bike. The crash was as a result of spectators blocking the road and himself, Richie Porte and Bauke Molema were taken down by crashing into their lead motorbike. Both Porte and Molema quickly remounted and pushed through the scrum of fans to race to the stage end less than 1 kilometer away. Froome however was faced with the problem that the motorbike following them had aparently driven over his bike when they couldn’t stop in time. His bike was broken and unrideable. His Tour rested on what he did next. The normal reaction would be to wait for a replacement bike but the clock was ticking and Froome’s team car was at least 5 minutes behind him down the mountain.
Related post: Reacting to & avoiding mistakes in racing
I’ve seen lots of idiotic reactions to bikes letting riders down. Wiggins is fairly well know for it, he has fired his against a wall when it let him down a couple of years ago in the Giro del Trentino and on another occassion flings his TT bike on the ground in disgust as he has a mechanical issue that is slowing but not stopping him then he just walks around looking like a spoilt kid throwing his toys out of the pram. Chris Horner bounced his off the ground then kicked it after dropping a chain in another race. In the Ironman World Championships Norman Stadler fired his into the lava fields when a mechanical put an end to his day.
Froome could have panicked and in fairness he probably couldn’t have been faulted for throwing a wobbler as none of the chaos was his fault but instead he picked himself up and started running, yes running. With no bike. He stunned the fans, the TV commentators and the worldwide audience. Cyclingnews.com had a half dozen stories about the incident later in the day. I had never seen anything like it and neither by the sounds of it had the rest of the worlds cycling fans.
I think it really highlights his champion qualities. The self control and desire to keep fighting and to keep moving towards the finish either on his feet or on an ill fitting neutral service replacement bike with pedals that wouldn’t work with his shoes. All the time talking to his team on his radio trying to get them up to him with a bike he could ride. He kept on fighting to stay in the race, he knew he might be losing the Tour right there and then and not because of any failing of his but he got right back up and did what no one expected, he did the only thing in his power. He kept on moving towards the finish line. And at the end of the day he deservedly held on to his jersey.
Our sport gets enough bad press and Chris’s actions yesterday highlighted his champion qualities, his self control under massive pressure, his drive and fight and it painted a great picture of what the Tour should be. Overcoming difficulties and pushing our personal limits. I for one will try to learn from it and not have a strop the next time I puncture in the rain or if I’m afflicted with some other similar catastrophic disaster.
You’ve gained yourself a bunch of new fans today Chris, keep on fighting.