Froome has been trending for about 14 hours with Esquire publishing his back story, defiance of haters, and his performance test results. Those that believe and totally don’t are further entrenched, and he’s as unlikeable a Tour leader as ever, with his just trust-me marketing campaign. Well, of course we don’t and shouldn’t; especially, the media that was too scared of Lance to share what they knew or suspected during his 7 wins.
As Ross Tucker writes, what’s missing from this “big reveal,” is how Froome went from good to a Tour-dominating great. The years where he shed 15 pounds and transformed from a rouleur into a skeletal, Gollum seeking his precious, the yellow jersey, on mountain stages.
Same power, similar VO2, lower mass, predictions confirmed.
In our Tour issue from earlier this year, Nathan Wright wrote about how we’ve seen this script before, and using a music analogy said, “We Won’t Get Fooled Again.”
I witnessed Richie Porte smile as he upped the pace and Contador and Nibali popped off the back. I watched as Chris Froome accelerated 7 kilometers from the finish and gained time all the way to the line. He did it with the fast cadence and apparent ease not seen since in the Tour since 2005. I saw Richie Porte reel in Nario Quintana, one of the best climbers in the peloton, and drop him within sight of the line. I remained glued to the screen in disbelief as Sky’s Classics rider Geraint Thomas finished 6th on the stage.
All of these performances mirror those of Armstrong, Robert Heras, George Hincapie and other known drug cheats that rode in service of Armstrong on US Postal Service squad. Stage 10 was almost a carbon copy of Lance Armstrong and Roberto Heras’ mugging of Joseba Beloki on the climb to Plateau de Beille in stage 12 of the 2002 Tour de France.
No, we won’t get fooled. Ultimately what the Froome camp did achieve with Esquire was keep him in the news cycle, blowing a kiss to his fans, while throwing his haters a bone, and saying, “The secret is, there is no secret.”
Sure and while we’re sharing secrets, it was a brilliant PR play, and remember the image makers that made Lance, didn’t leave the sport when he was exiled, they just moved to the next team.