In the past, if you googled “Chris Froome” and “panache” you would get articles about how “Froome has no panache.”
If you googled “Chris Froome” and “robotic” your computer would smoke, then break.
On the first mildly hilly stage of this year’s Turdy France, which included the Col d’Fuzzy, the Col Gate, and the Col d’Peine en la Sourde, Chris Froome, the eternal robot, the marginally gained volcano doper, the pre-planned, Excel spreadsheeted, laboratory refined, data driven starer-of-stems ripped a page from the actual sport of bike racing and won in glorious fashion, gloriously, with much glory.
He attacked on a crazy descent that hit speeds of up to 56 mph.
He descended on his top tube.
He pedaled like a bent cricket, or like PeeWee Herman –video courtesy of METAL Andrew Danly And Never Middle Name Sadness.
He caught everyone with their pants not only down, but with their hands on their, uh, suspenders and their thumbs jammed up their, uh, noses.
Then he won the race, snatched a dozen seconds from his future podium mates, and pulled on the yellow jersey.
Not bad for a robot.
In fact, it was an incredible move. Froome had little to gain, and everything to lose. Seated in a position designed to maximize speed and minimize control while bombing a gonzo descent, had he flubbed a turn, had he rolled a tire (some riders rolled tubulars due to the scorching road temperatures), had he hit an oil spot, had he had a flat or a mechanical or a twig in his spokes or a kink in his pancreas, ANYTHING, he would have crashed out of the Tour.
And with that he would have become the biggest Tour Goat of all time. They would have to come up with a new Goat Jersey to commemorate the biggest smelly steaming lump of oatmeal ever to lose a bike race. No one would ever forget it, no matter how many wins he subsequently racked up.
To call it a big gamble doesn’t even begin to capture the gutsiness of the move. Perhaps tired of being a robot, he lashed out, took the risk of all risks, and pulled it off.
Keep in mind that this type of nads-out racing rarely even happens among racers who are behind the leader and who truly do have nothing to lose. It’s unthinkable for the guy who had the Tour won by simply following the competition and kicking butt on a couple of climbs and in a time trial or two.
Nice job, Chrissy. I sure wish your programmers would let you race your bike a little bit more often. Because when they unsnap the leash, you ride pretty damned good.
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