The Hitch said:
Ok, but if we follow your logic (which I agree with) then we also have to admit that Froome was both a) riding full gas and b) well rested compared to rivals and c) focusing entirely on that stage in the 2008 Alpe d'huez stage. And yet he only came 32nd and considered that some sort of great accomplishment.
A few years later he is very ill, so much so that he is just "hanging on" and is focusing on the gc the entire race, and has expanded a lot of energy riding harder throughout the race. And on the same mountain he rides both much better relative to his competition and faster objectively speaking.
Its cos everyone else stopped doping right?
No. Although that helps.
In 2008 he was a first year pro who had never done a stage race bigger than the Tour of Britain before riding on shoestring team with no coaching. And, according to him, he didn't eat properly. Even so he showed in that Tour that he could be climb and time trial well
and was generally thought of as a future GC rider.
He didn't ride it again until his sixth season. The time you mention was his eighth season.
Now here's a little secret for you - you may notice it yourself as you learn more about the sport. Cyclists progress physically and mentally through the early years of their career. It's very unusual for any champion to be a world beater in their first season. In fact almost unheard of.
He finished 11'41" behind the winner on Alpe d'Huez. The riders who finished immediately after him were largely domestiques (Ten Dam, Lopez, Vansummeren, Popovych, Astarloza, etc).
All Froome showed in 2008 was that he wasn’t entirely out of his depth. Let’s look at what some other first year pros achieved:
Jan Ulrich: National TT Champion, 2nd Tour de Limousin at 21
Alberto Contador: 1st Tour de Pologne ITT, 4th Vuelta Castilla y Leon at 22
Andy Schleck: National TT Champion, 3rd National RR, 7th GP de Wallonie, 9th 4 Days of Dunkirk at 20
Cadel Evans: 1st Tour of Austria + 2 stages, 1st Brixia Tour + stage, 6th Giro dell Appenino, 8th Bayern Rundhfart at 23
Vincenzo Nibali: 2nd stage 6 Tour de Suisse, 4th National TT, 6th Milan-Torino at 20
Nairo Quintana: mountain class. Volta Catalunya, 15th Vuelta Castilla y Leon at 21
THIS is what talent looks like.