Chris Froome has done us all two immense favors. First, he stirred up the ghost of Tours past by poking his literary finger in teammate Bradley Wiggins’ eye, giving us the opportunity to guess at just what is up at Team Sky now, where management has done a great job at delivering race wins, and a decidedly less good job at getting all their stars to play nicely in the same sand box. As psycho-dramas go, this is a good one, and the affable, though oddly naive, Froome does a nice job of toggling between hero and anti-hero. It keeps us all on our toes.
The second stroke of plot-twisting genius rendered by the lanky Kenyan was not winning the Dauphiné. Because honestly, if he’d won that race, we’d be hear talking about what chance anyone else had of unseating him as Tour champion. Instead, Froomey’s gone and ridden like an actual human, crumbling in the closing stages of the race to allow, and here’s where the story gets really good, not Alberto Contador but Andrew Talansky to with the Dauphiné, which sets us up for a wide-open summer drama on the roads of France.
Add in the debatable form of Froome’s preferred lieutenant Richie Porte, who finished 22nd at the Dauphiné, more than 20 minutes behind the winner, and it’s hard to envision Sky dominating the field at the the Grand Boucle.
Meanwhile, at the Tour de Suisse, the sprinters and time trialists are revving their engines like so many Ferraris on the start line at Monaco. Tony Martin, the race leader, will like his form, but Fabian Cancellara looks a bit off, while riders like Peter Sagan and Sacha Modolo continue to erode Mark Cavendish’s air of invincibility.
So, Chris Froome, Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali represent the front line GC favorites, but lurking not far beyond are talents like Rigoberto Uran and Talansky. Given the dramatics at both the Giro and the Dauphine, we have a delightfully unpredictable race shaping up. And the same could be said for the green jersey hopefuls, with Cavendish, Sagan, Marcel Kittel and Nacer Bouhani all winning fast finishes in the build up.
This week’s Group Ride asks, who do you like for the yellow jersey? Who for the green? The polka dots are beyond my power of analysis, but if you have some clue you’d like to offer, chuck that in, too.
Image: Fotoreporter Sirotti