During his seven Tour de France wins that he didn’t win, Lance Armstrong famously avoided trouble.
Trouble in the form of punctures, mechanical issues, and crashes, that is. Trouble in the form of arguments, cover-ups, legal action, and having substances in your blood stream that you shouldn’t, were a different matter.
Lance was in control, was the story we were sold, and the chapter on avoiding trouble was all part of the myth.
Chris Froome, on the other hand, finds trouble. He’s that kid at school we all knew, to whom stuff happens.
For legal reasons, I would like to clarify that I’m not comparing Froome and Armstrong. Neither am I comparing Armstrong and that kid at school. I’m just talking about cycling. Names crop up.
What can you do?
Those of us watching at home have become accustomed to the panicked camera shot panning across to Froome; sprawled across the road, or fiddling and faffing with a broken bike, or, as on Mont Ventoux in 2016, running up the mountain like a madman for the lack of a working bike.
You could say that being so good, and spending so much time riding in pressurized situations, means that when things go wrong for Froome there’s a good chance it will prove crucial.
Alternatively, you could say that his team keep the pressure off him so well that when he is exposed to the crunch, a little bit of jittery panic sets in. Today, he had a little cuddle with the Spanish Tarmac twice in quick succession.
At the time, Alberto Contador was away down the road on the final descent and threatening to gain time. Which he did. To the tune of forty-odd seconds over Froome.
Did Contador’s pressure cause one, or both, of Froome’s little spills?
Make your own mind up.
For someone to whom stuff happens, he hasn’t half won a lot of Tour de France.
While Contador was busy making hay, and Froome was picking bits of road out of his skin, Polish rider Tomasz Marczynski was eight minutes or so further on and winning his second stage of the race.
For a ‘journeyman’ time-trialler, that’s a good couple of weeks work.
At this Vuelta, stuff happens.
(Top Image: via pixabay.com)