Teams & Riders Froome Talk Only

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May 26, 2010
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Re:

Libertine Seguros said:
While the way they win may change, the underlying problem that explains why Froome and Sky have never been taken to heart by a large (and admittedly vocal) section of the fanbase remains the same: they feel like their intelligence is being insulted.

The thing is, the complete do-over on Froome's form coming into the season may have given the impression Froome was distinctly undercooked coming into the Giro, having not been his regular, dominant self, but at the same time we've never really seen Froome Mark II (the good Froome) prepare for the Giro, so maybe all of that was in line with where they wanted his form to be at the time. Or maybe his miracle malfunctioning kidney returned. We just don't know. See, that malfunctioning kidney is exactly what we're talking about when we talk about fans' intelligence being insulted - fans have been asked to swallow some seriously stupid excuses before. And defending such cases is not so much about proving that the excuse given is what did happen, but about proving that the reasoning given is plausible enough to introduce sufficient doubt that the doping explanation is not the only possible explanation. From a regulatory perspective, if the prosecution cannot provide evidence that irrevocably confirms that doping was the purpose, and the defence provides evidence that something other than doping could have caused the anomaly, it doesn't matter if 99,9999% of likelihoods point to doping, the regulators cannot say with certainty that it was doping. That doesn't change the most likely outcome being doping, but makes it harder to issue a suspension. Lots of riders have provided unconvincing excuses for doping, and while most have become cycling in-jokes (vanishing twins, beer and a shot, sex), some have actually been successful arguing their improbable explanations (Daryl Impey springs to mind immediately) for that very reason.

So the man with his malfunctioning kidney, severe asthma (which was not mentioned in his book which came out shortly before his being filmed puffing on an inhaler in the Tour de Romandie, which he won convincingly thanks to a TUE for prednisolone, without which apparently he would have been too sick to race. Must suck to be on a team like Mitchelton-Scott where you don't have a fast track into the system and riders suffering from allergies just have to lose time. Maybe that's the revolution Sky were bringing to cycling, hey?) and severe dehydration just happened to regain all the time he lost the previous day in a Vuelta where he held the leader's jersey for 18 days. It doesn't matter how implausible it is, because what the lawyers have to do, realistically, is prove that it isn't impossible, and put the onus back onto the prosecution to prove that the intention was to cheat. It doesn't matter that anybody who wants to keep up the belief that Sky are the 100% clean all singing all dancing revolution the sport needs will have to produce a similarly miraculous level of mental contortion in order to justify this explanation and that almost every man and his dog has come around to the realisation that Froome is at least using every performance-enhancing substance he can feasibly get away with, if not using ones he can't. After all, they don't even pretend to hide it, with him swigging from miniature bottles and puffing on his inhaler in full view of the cameras at various times in his career.

The problem is, Sky and Froome are now in a much worse position in the PR war. The presence of that positive test, regardless of whether being for a controlled substance rather than an explicitly forbidden one, has shone a light onto the team that once and for all extinguishes the lingering residual flickering flame of their anti-doping policy. The Sky fans that five years ago were dismissing the criticisms of Wiggins and Froome and touting the team's commitment to clean cycling and successfully marginalising the voices of doubt have progressively seen their standards, and expectations, lowered and lowered again until we're now in the rather unflattering position where the defence of Sky almost entirely rests on criticizing people who kick against what they're seeing for cheering other suspected or confirmed dopers, either not ackowledging or not recognizing the change in themselves and their arguments from supporting the team that is changing cycling for the better, to supporting the team that is "no worse than any of the others" - and resenting the fact that they attract more criticism and more hate, due to the intelligence-insulting BS that they themselves used to parrot in order to get a rise from the doubters.

That all changed when the AAF came out. That was the point at which Team Sky, and Chris Froome in particular, ceded once and for all their claim to the moral high ground. Not that we didn't already have a mountain of circumstantial evidence - but there wasn't a smoking gun. Now, is a positive test for salbutamol truly a smoking gun? No, it isn't - nobody in their right mind is going to claim that salbutamol alone is responsible for the enormous performance increases we see at Team Sky - but it was proof positive (sic) that the system was being gamed by the team that promised they wouldn't do that. It wasn't a surprise to most sceptics - they claimed they would never hire any doctor involved in cycling and then hired Geert Leinders and Fabio Bartalucci; they claimed they would never hire anyone involved in doping ever and then hired Mick Rogers and Michael Barry; they claimed they would withdraw riders from races rather than get TUEs, and we've seen both Froome and Wiggins win races where they have obtained TUEs and heard Shane Sutton openly state that obtaining those TUEs - whether used for a legitimate medical need or pre-emptive - was one of their marginal gains. But a positive test meant that the press, which had largely been willing to buy the feel-good narrative until the Jiffy Bag story and the Fancy Bears TUE revelations, could no longer see no evil.

But it's Sky's reaction to this that has raised people's ire more than anything else. They haven't just pretended it's business as usual; they've run and hid. Brailsford of course has previous for this, remembering him literally running away from Daniel Benson asking him how the investigation into Leinders was going back in 2012. Brailsford has been avoiding the press at all turns, then at the pre-Giro press conference claiming about his openness - he's been at all the races, so the press just haven't seen fit to ask him questions, notwithstanding that he's hidden away at the bus and avoided interviews, and when he has he's given even more circuitous non-answer answers than usual, and refused to handle any questions pertaining to the ongoing situation (while commenting on the specifics of the case may not be possible due to the ongoing proceedings, he's used that as an excuse to not answer some only tangentially related questions, such as conditional outcomes and how this meshes with Team Sky's stated anti-doping policy). He's doubled down on supporting Froome, and then been in hiding for most of the Giro, only to emerge at the last minute to gloat and take personal credit for Froome's spectacular stage 19 ride.

And then you have the ride itself. I've been over a few times how the transformation of Froome, his style on a bike and his paucity of results before his contract was up and he said avada khedavra and became the rider we now know mean that it's harder for fans to suspend their disbelief with him than with other riders' doped exploits, because it's harder to rationalize him as the best cyclist in the world for those reasons. And that's part of the reason why a rider flying away with 80km and three mountains to go and winning solo by minutes isn't being bought in many quarters as a heroic throwback to the golden days of yore, but as a disgusting power play. Froome himself must surely know that a performance like this in 2018 is going to be received much more negatively than even if he himself did it five years ago, because when you're under investigation for doping and pull out a miracle comeback of that kind, surely in his heart of hearts he knows this is not going to be interpreted as a wounded champion putting on a show like Bernard Hinault into Ávila in 1983, but as a brazen display of "you can't catch me" from a known doper? Were the Sky fans who are cheering Froome to this Giro victory similarly enthused by Alejandro Valverde's two year stint as a fugitive from CONI, winning left right and centre between giving CONI a blood test after the Prato Nevoso stage in 2008 (oh look, another link to today) and eventually being suspended in 2010? The comparison was made, many years ago, to an action movie when the hero has got the villain in for questioning, they know they're the bad guy but they haven't got a charge, so the villain is taunting them, mocking them, and the hero can't do anything about it. That's a good comparison - especially when Brailsford emerges from his Keyser Soze slumber to publicly gloat about the triumph - at this stage it's become evident that Sky are very much villains of the piece, and in many ways have been shown up as that most unlikable of villains, the pontificating moralizer that casts judgement on others, incites people against them, but is simultaneously just as guilty themselves. Remember, these guardians of the morals of cycling also have a known racist in the ranks who they refused to sanction until it was at minimum loss to themselves, and who apparently deliberately tried to injure a fellow competitor for publicizing that.

It is in this light that we must cast the actions of stages 19 and 20. George Bennett has said that the anti-doping (and largely anti-Sky or anti-Froome or both) twitterati have treated him as going to bat for them even if he isn't meaning things to the same extent as they think - however there is also another element to that, in that the interview that was given immediately post-race is a much more instant reaction. I'm sure Bennett will have thought about the stage in greater detail later on and come to a more nuanced position, but his immediate response was one of almost amused shock, and even if many have attributed greater value to his words than were intended, that in and of itself speaks volumes. There is also the possibility that following Lotto-Jumbo themselves distancing themselves from his comments (that they posted for everybody to see), Bennett's partial retraction of his comments may also have in mind the fact that Sky have thrown their weight around with people who say or do things they don't like before (remember Peter Kennaugh screaming in Rasmussen's face, Aru being shoved almost off the road for not waiting for Froome in the Tour, or Phil Deignan outing Pauline Ferrand-Prévot's personal business at the same time his fiancée was begging for her privacy to be respected) and we must remember that cycling is a pack sport, so getting on the wrong side of the teams who can strong-arm you could jeopardise future results and earnings.

At this stage, with the likes of Moscon, Brailsford's disappearing and reappearing act, and Froome making miracle comeback rides while under investigation, it's almost like Team Sky have reached the point where they're kicking against the ***, in their mindset. They've tried to present themselves as the good guys, and that's not worked, so now they're embracing their role as the bête noire of the fanbase, and actively enjoying being ruthless, trampling on opponents (at another time or from another team, the slow-down to allow Dumoulin to return and then sprinting away from him might not be so ill received, but from Froome and Poels at this stage - remember Poels doing his Leonardo Piepoli job on Angliru too - it just looked like a calculated move to disrespect Dumoulin, who we must remember went on record in March saying that Froome shouldn't be racing) and fanning the flames of the hostile responses they're given. It's almost like, if our reputation's going down, we're gonna go down swinging, and take as many results as we can on the way - in much the same way, you could argue, as the likes of Astana or indeed Valverde. So nobody should be surprised by the hostile response. After all, we're now at the stage where the all-singing, all-dancing 100% clean team has now been surpassed in the quality of its anti-doping protocols by such luminary clean teams as Lampre, given their response to the Ulissi positive.

And of course the UCI and ASO are worried. This Giro has now proven to them that if Froome wants something, there's a good chance that if he lines up for the race and they can't stop him, they can't stop him winning it. At this stage, everything Froome wins is bad for business for the sport. The hardcore fanbase may not change, but the issue has always been that Froome is not a popular champion. When you have an unpopular champion and people think he can be beaten and will tune in to see him beaten, that's ok. But when you have an unpopular champion and people don't believe that he can be beaten, or think that he's getting it all his own way, then they are less likely to tune in. And when he's performing like this while under investigation, with the fanbase having the full knowledge that he's either facing a ban or these results could be taken away in the near future, what reason do they have for believing what they're seeing?

The thing is, what we've been seeing from Froome this last few months is, in effect, what historically has been a selling point for the Volta a Portugal. The Volta is a cult favourite of the hardcore fanbase, a cartoonish version of cycling served without moral pretence, full of comically fast speeds, absurdly counter-productive tactics, fratricidal battles and fantastical exploits. But the reason the Volta works like that is because nobody buys it as being clean cycling. The World Tour, the Grand Tours, the Monuments and all those other races at the very pinnacle of the sport have that obligation to protect their brand, and maintaining the conception that we're watching a fair fight is a large part of that. By contrast, the Volta is a sideshow attraction which, due to a relatively lowly status and its difficulty, is somewhat marginal compared to the very pinnacle of the sport, which enables fans to enjoy it for what it is guilt-free. There's no pretence that it is anything other than a freak show. Maybe if we gave up that pretence with Chris Froome, we could enjoy his exploits a bit more.
This is great stuff. Well done. :cool:
 
Re: Re:

Benotti69 said:
Stella0596 said:
Red Rick said:
Pantani Attacks said:
https://twitter.com/laflammerouge16/status/1000473527651221504

Says it all doesn't it, well done Tom.
It's already gone I think

What did it say?
It was Dumoulin refusing to shake hands with Froome, but that was from the Tirreno.
He also refused yesterday

https://twitter.com/faustocoppi60/status/1000454548710920192
Considering Sunweb director statements I had no doubt Tom would refuse to acknowledge Froome.
What I find appealing is the other riders not being more direct in saying what they think.

Obviously we know why, they are doping as well, even if not remotely close to the shitshow of Sky.
 
Re: Re:

Climbing said:
Benotti69 said:
Stella0596 said:
Red Rick said:
Pantani Attacks said:
https://twitter.com/laflammerouge16/status/1000473527651221504

Says it all doesn't it, well done Tom.
It's already gone I think

What did it say?
It was Dumoulin refusing to shake hands with Froome, but that was from the Tirreno.
He also refused yesterday

https://twitter.com/faustocoppi60/status/1000454548710920192
Considering Sunweb director statements I had no doubt Tom would refuse to acknowledge Froome.
What I find appealing is the other riders not being more direct in saying what they think.

Obviously we know why, they are doping as well, even if not remotely close to the shitshow of Sky.
My doper dopes lesser than your doper.
Yeah, right. :lol: :lol:
 
Re: Re:

Climbing said:
Benotti69 said:
Stella0596 said:
Red Rick said:
Pantani Attacks said:
https://twitter.com/laflammerouge16/status/1000473527651221504

Says it all doesn't it, well done Tom.
It's already gone I think

What did it say?
It was Dumoulin refusing to shake hands with Froome, but that was from the Tirreno.
He also refused yesterday

https://twitter.com/faustocoppi60/status/1000454548710920192
Considering Sunweb director statements I had no doubt Tom would refuse to acknowledge Froome.
What I find appealing is the other riders not being more direct in saying what they think.

Obviously we know why, they are doping as well, even if not remotely close to the shitshow of Sky.
Give me please one rational argument on why froome shouldnot win the giro while dimoulin should. let's leave the endless lamentations of "i hate froome so he shouldn't win" aside.
 
Oct 6, 2009
5,273
0
0
Re: Re:

Benotti69 said:
Stella0596 said:
Red Rick said:
Pantani Attacks said:
https://twitter.com/laflammerouge16/status/1000473527651221504

Says it all doesn't it, well done Tom.
It's already gone I think

What did it say?
It was Dumoulin refusing to shake hands with Froome, but that was from the Tirreno.
He also refused yesterday

https://twitter.com/faustocoppi60/status/1000454548710920192

Don't blame TD. Froome coming over to be seen on camera as the magnanimous winner after that sprint. Would he have approached Dumoulin if no cameras were present? I like TD more for being real.

--


Cycling is such a joke. Now the last two grand tours both are sitting here with asterisks. We don't know who officially won the Vuelta. Now we don't know who won the Giro. Ridiculous to have a situation that can drag on so long. They need to change the salbutamol rule so that a rider has something like 90 days to present a satisfactory explanation for why they exceeded the threshold, otherwise it triggers a suspension like any other substance while the process plays out.

Cycling is a sport that is heavily reliant on the generosity of others - companies to sponsor teams, and companies+ local government funds to sponsor races. What happens when the public finally decides there's better use for the public purse than paying for a drug-fueled charade? All races turn into the Hammer Series and take place on Murdoch's estate?
 
@merckx, I take your points, but did you fully believe Froome wouldn’t come out on Zoncolan.

@libertine and@beech, there’s enough money and minimal scandal exposure (it’s dope/“cheating”; not harassing podium girls with power connections) that the infrastructure will continue, no? Maybe it changes in France?
 
Re:

Libertine Seguros said:
While the way they win may change, the underlying problem that explains why Froome and Sky have never been taken to heart by a large (and admittedly vocal) section of the fanbase remains the same: they feel like their intelligence is being insulted.

The thing is, the complete do-over on Froome's form coming into the season may have given the impression Froome was distinctly undercooked coming into the Giro, having not been his regular, dominant self, but at the same time we've never really seen Froome Mark II (the good Froome) prepare for the Giro, so maybe all of that was in line with where they wanted his form to be at the time. Or maybe his miracle malfunctioning kidney returned. We just don't know. See, that malfunctioning kidney is exactly what we're talking about when we talk about fans' intelligence being insulted - fans have been asked to swallow some seriously stupid excuses before. And defending such cases is not so much about proving that the excuse given is what did happen, but about proving that the reasoning given is plausible enough to introduce sufficient doubt that the doping explanation is not the only possible explanation. From a regulatory perspective, if the prosecution cannot provide evidence that irrevocably confirms that doping was the purpose, and the defence provides evidence that something other than doping could have caused the anomaly, it doesn't matter if 99,9999% of likelihoods point to doping, the regulators cannot say with certainty that it was doping. That doesn't change the most likely outcome being doping, but makes it harder to issue a suspension. Lots of riders have provided unconvincing excuses for doping, and while most have become cycling in-jokes (vanishing twins, beer and a shot, sex), some have actually been successful arguing their improbable explanations (Daryl Impey springs to mind immediately) for that very reason.

So the man with his malfunctioning kidney, severe asthma (which was not mentioned in his book which came out shortly before his being filmed puffing on an inhaler in the Tour de Romandie, which he won convincingly thanks to a TUE for prednisolone, without which apparently he would have been too sick to race. Must suck to be on a team like Mitchelton-Scott where you don't have a fast track into the system and riders suffering from allergies just have to lose time. Maybe that's the revolution Sky were bringing to cycling, hey?) and severe dehydration just happened to regain all the time he lost the previous day in a Vuelta where he held the leader's jersey for 18 days. It doesn't matter how implausible it is, because what the lawyers have to do, realistically, is prove that it isn't impossible, and put the onus back onto the prosecution to prove that the intention was to cheat. It doesn't matter that anybody who wants to keep up the belief that Sky are the 100% clean all singing all dancing revolution the sport needs will have to produce a similarly miraculous level of mental contortion in order to justify this explanation and that almost every man and his dog has come around to the realisation that Froome is at least using every performance-enhancing substance he can feasibly get away with, if not using ones he can't. After all, they don't even pretend to hide it, with him swigging from miniature bottles and puffing on his inhaler in full view of the cameras at various times in his career.

The problem is, Sky and Froome are now in a much worse position in the PR war. The presence of that positive test, regardless of whether being for a controlled substance rather than an explicitly forbidden one, has shone a light onto the team that once and for all extinguishes the lingering residual flickering flame of their anti-doping policy. The Sky fans that five years ago were dismissing the criticisms of Wiggins and Froome and touting the team's commitment to clean cycling and successfully marginalising the voices of doubt have progressively seen their standards, and expectations, lowered and lowered again until we're now in the rather unflattering position where the defence of Sky almost entirely rests on criticizing people who kick against what they're seeing for cheering other suspected or confirmed dopers, either not ackowledging or not recognizing the change in themselves and their arguments from supporting the team that is changing cycling for the better, to supporting the team that is "no worse than any of the others" - and resenting the fact that they attract more criticism and more hate, due to the intelligence-insulting BS that they themselves used to parrot in order to get a rise from the doubters.

That all changed when the AAF came out. That was the point at which Team Sky, and Chris Froome in particular, ceded once and for all their claim to the moral high ground. Not that we didn't already have a mountain of circumstantial evidence - but there wasn't a smoking gun. Now, is a positive test for salbutamol truly a smoking gun? No, it isn't - nobody in their right mind is going to claim that salbutamol alone is responsible for the enormous performance increases we see at Team Sky - but it was proof positive (sic) that the system was being gamed by the team that promised they wouldn't do that. It wasn't a surprise to most sceptics - they claimed they would never hire any doctor involved in cycling and then hired Geert Leinders and Fabio Bartalucci; they claimed they would never hire anyone involved in doping ever and then hired Mick Rogers and Michael Barry; they claimed they would withdraw riders from races rather than get TUEs, and we've seen both Froome and Wiggins win races where they have obtained TUEs and heard Shane Sutton openly state that obtaining those TUEs - whether used for a legitimate medical need or pre-emptive - was one of their marginal gains. But a positive test meant that the press, which had largely been willing to buy the feel-good narrative until the Jiffy Bag story and the Fancy Bears TUE revelations, could no longer see no evil.

But it's Sky's reaction to this that has raised people's ire more than anything else. They haven't just pretended it's business as usual; they've run and hid. Brailsford of course has previous for this, remembering him literally running away from Daniel Benson asking him how the investigation into Leinders was going back in 2012. Brailsford has been avoiding the press at all turns, then at the pre-Giro press conference claiming about his openness - he's been at all the races, so the press just haven't seen fit to ask him questions, notwithstanding that he's hidden away at the bus and avoided interviews, and when he has he's given even more circuitous non-answer answers than usual, and refused to handle any questions pertaining to the ongoing situation (while commenting on the specifics of the case may not be possible due to the ongoing proceedings, he's used that as an excuse to not answer some only tangentially related questions, such as conditional outcomes and how this meshes with Team Sky's stated anti-doping policy). He's doubled down on supporting Froome, and then been in hiding for most of the Giro, only to emerge at the last minute to gloat and take personal credit for Froome's spectacular stage 19 ride.

And then you have the ride itself. I've been over a few times how the transformation of Froome, his style on a bike and his paucity of results before his contract was up and he said avada khedavra and became the rider we now know mean that it's harder for fans to suspend their disbelief with him than with other riders' doped exploits, because it's harder to rationalize him as the best cyclist in the world for those reasons. And that's part of the reason why a rider flying away with 80km and three mountains to go and winning solo by minutes isn't being bought in many quarters as a heroic throwback to the golden days of yore, but as a disgusting power play. Froome himself must surely know that a performance like this in 2018 is going to be received much more negatively than even if he himself did it five years ago, because when you're under investigation for doping and pull out a miracle comeback of that kind, surely in his heart of hearts he knows this is not going to be interpreted as a wounded champion putting on a show like Bernard Hinault into Ávila in 1983, but as a brazen display of "you can't catch me" from a known doper? Were the Sky fans who are cheering Froome to this Giro victory similarly enthused by Alejandro Valverde's two year stint as a fugitive from CONI, winning left right and centre between giving CONI a blood test after the Prato Nevoso stage in 2008 (oh look, another link to today) and eventually being suspended in 2010? The comparison was made, many years ago, to an action movie when the hero has got the villain in for questioning, they know they're the bad guy but they haven't got a charge, so the villain is taunting them, mocking them, and the hero can't do anything about it. That's a good comparison - especially when Brailsford emerges from his Keyser Soze slumber to publicly gloat about the triumph - at this stage it's become evident that Sky are very much villains of the piece, and in many ways have been shown up as that most unlikable of villains, the pontificating moralizer that casts judgement on others, incites people against them, but is simultaneously just as guilty themselves. Remember, these guardians of the morals of cycling also have a known racist in the ranks who they refused to sanction until it was at minimum loss to themselves, and who apparently deliberately tried to injure a fellow competitor for publicizing that.

It is in this light that we must cast the actions of stages 19 and 20. George Bennett has said that the anti-doping (and largely anti-Sky or anti-Froome or both) twitterati have treated him as going to bat for them even if he isn't meaning things to the same extent as they think - however there is also another element to that, in that the interview that was given immediately post-race is a much more instant reaction. I'm sure Bennett will have thought about the stage in greater detail later on and come to a more nuanced position, but his immediate response was one of almost amused shock, and even if many have attributed greater value to his words than were intended, that in and of itself speaks volumes. There is also the possibility that following Lotto-Jumbo themselves distancing themselves from his comments (that they posted for everybody to see), Bennett's partial retraction of his comments may also have in mind the fact that Sky have thrown their weight around with people who say or do things they don't like before (remember Peter Kennaugh screaming in Rasmussen's face, Aru being shoved almost off the road for not waiting for Froome in the Tour, or Phil Deignan outing Pauline Ferrand-Prévot's personal business at the same time his fiancée was begging for her privacy to be respected) and we must remember that cycling is a pack sport, so getting on the wrong side of the teams who can strong-arm you could jeopardise future results and earnings.

At this stage, with the likes of Moscon, Brailsford's disappearing and reappearing act, and Froome making miracle comeback rides while under investigation, it's almost like Team Sky have reached the point where they're kicking against the ***, in their mindset. They've tried to present themselves as the good guys, and that's not worked, so now they're embracing their role as the bête noire of the fanbase, and actively enjoying being ruthless, trampling on opponents (at another time or from another team, the slow-down to allow Dumoulin to return and then sprinting away from him might not be so ill received, but from Froome and Poels at this stage - remember Poels doing his Leonardo Piepoli job on Angliru too - it just looked like a calculated move to disrespect Dumoulin, who we must remember went on record in March saying that Froome shouldn't be racing) and fanning the flames of the hostile responses they're given. It's almost like, if our reputation's going down, we're gonna go down swinging, and take as many results as we can on the way - in much the same way, you could argue, as the likes of Astana or indeed Valverde. So nobody should be surprised by the hostile response. After all, we're now at the stage where the all-singing, all-dancing 100% clean team has now been surpassed in the quality of its anti-doping protocols by such luminary clean teams as Lampre, given their response to the Ulissi positive.

And of course the UCI and ASO are worried. This Giro has now proven to them that if Froome wants something, there's a good chance that if he lines up for the race and they can't stop him, they can't stop him winning it. At this stage, everything Froome wins is bad for business for the sport. The hardcore fanbase may not change, but the issue has always been that Froome is not a popular champion. When you have an unpopular champion and people think he can be beaten and will tune in to see him beaten, that's ok. But when you have an unpopular champion and people don't believe that he can be beaten, or think that he's getting it all his own way, then they are less likely to tune in. And when he's performing like this while under investigation, with the fanbase having the full knowledge that he's either facing a ban or these results could be taken away in the near future, what reason do they have for believing what they're seeing?

The thing is, what we've been seeing from Froome this last few months is, in effect, what historically has been a selling point for the Volta a Portugal. The Volta is a cult favourite of the hardcore fanbase, a cartoonish version of cycling served without moral pretence, full of comically fast speeds, absurdly counter-productive tactics, fratricidal battles and fantastical exploits. But the reason the Volta works like that is because nobody buys it as being clean cycling. The World Tour, the Grand Tours, the Monuments and all those other races at the very pinnacle of the sport have that obligation to protect their brand, and maintaining the conception that we're watching a fair fight is a large part of that. By contrast, the Volta is a sideshow attraction which, due to a relatively lowly status and its difficulty, is somewhat marginal compared to the very pinnacle of the sport, which enables fans to enjoy it for what it is guilt-free. There's no pretence that it is anything other than a freak show. Maybe if we gave up that pretence with Chris Froome, we could enjoy his exploits a bit more.
As always sir, a superb well thought post.

@rick james. You cry when someone (me) has a stab at Brian Smith texting your hero. When someone posts a well thought post like this, you instantly attack the man. It's utterly typical of you and how childish, you are. You're a full on troll.
 
TD is the best, be handles Froome with aplomb. Dawg in his small ways wanted to shake hands in front of the cameras, which begs the questions, why would he winner of the race go and seek out a handshake from second place? Normally it would be second place who would seek out Froome and congratulate him. Here the Dawg is looking for validation and Tom D just won’t give it to him. Tom D knows Froome is the winner of fhe Jock Race and that is about it.

 
Dec 18, 2013
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Why would the winner go looking to shake hands with second place?...class, acknowledgment of a good battle, any number of reasons...typical of the European Neanderthal to refuse though, I'd expect nothing less from one of our Continental cousins.
Froome was brought up well with manners and good schooling, Dumoulin was probably brought up by the family dog.
 
Re:

deviant said:
Why would the winner go looking to shake hands with second place?...class, acknowledgment of a good battle, any number of reasons...typical of the European Neanderthal to refuse though, I'd expect nothing less from one of our Continental cousins.
Froome was brought up well with manners and good schooling, Dumoulin was probably brought up by the family dog.
“Tom, Tom, its Chris, remember me? From zig zagging, falling off now 6 time GT winner fame. Please shake my hand in front of the cameras, please, I need validation, please Tom” :cool:
 
thehog said:
TD is the best, be handles Froome with aplomb. Dawg in his small ways wanted to shake hands in front of the cameras, which begs the questions, why would he winner of the race go and seek out a handshake from second place? Normally it would be second place who would seek out Froome and congratulate him. Here the Dawg is looking for validation and Tom D just won’t give it to him. Tom D knows Froome is the winner of fhe Jock Race and that is about it.


surely Alberto was kinder, both in victory and defeat.





ps. today at the beginning of the stage Froome and Dumo were chatting and smiling shoulder to shoulder
 
Re:

aphronesis said:
@merckx, I take your points, but did you fully believe Froome wouldn’t come out on Zoncolan.

@libertine and@beech, there’s enough money and minimal scandal exposure (it’s dope/“cheating”; not harassing podium girls with power connections) that the infrastructure will continue, no? Maybe it changes in France?
Oh, the infrastructure will continue, but if people don't want to watch - or, if people do watch and see the headlines dominated by cheating, not racing, then it will hurt the organisers where it counts. Look at the German response to Puerto, Freiburg and Rasmussen and cycling leaving mainstream TV. Loss of broadcast rights means loss of exposure for the sponsors means less money coming in. It's a business first and foremost. That's why you see courses take the shape they do, oftentimes. Remember the sheer number of flat stages in the Giro when Cipollini and Petacchi were the fastest guys in the world? Remember ASO putting a course for 2009 with the first set of mountains totally neutered and a long TTT for the first time since Lance retired? That was because it was prudent to business to have Lance competitive as long as possible (when they unveiled the course they had no idea how competitive he could be) because they needed to have the exposure that replaced the significant drop-off in the German audience from 2006 to 2008. Successive years of high scandal had hurt the marketability of the Tour, and by proxy other races that rely on ASO and its affiliates for income.

If you have a champion who is unpopular with the fanbase, who is riding under a cloud of suspicion, and whose results may be nullified at any time, and whose achievements are perceived to be unbelievable, certainly it won't kill the Tour, but it will harm the drawing power it has to TV channels and advertisers. In respect of the Tour especially, there is also an element of "meet the new boss, same as the old boss", seeing as we had the Festina affair then the "tour of redemption" which was won by the new doping superstar, Lance Armstrong, then after Lance you had that tumultuous period of Landis and Rasmussen, then several riders thrown off the Tour in 2008. Then the next rider to assert their dominance tests positive, then you have a nice couple of years before Sky start asserting themselves, but during which the Lance situation explodes and casts shame over the entire previous decade. Even though the salbutamol is a relatively minor thing, because of his riding, because of his late blooming and sudden emergence Froome has never truly been taken to heart by a lot of fans who've always made no secret of the fact that they don't buy what he's selling (such as the 2015 Tour, where the fans' rejection of Froome was in fact the biggest and most compelling narrative of the race), and now add in the fact that you've got a positive test, no matter how minor, along with the other stories that have been emerging about Sky over the last couple of years, that casts doubt and suspicion over the entire period since the decade that was disgraced. One of the reasons it was talked about that Sky were potentially clean(er) than the generations before was that stories hadn't come out like did about Lance early on - but now those stories are there, there's just that feeling that the juggernaut is difficult to stop. And even if Froome does get banned and his results stricken, you sponsor another team or rider, and you don't get the coverage on the podium, the images beamed around the world of your victory, the rider just gets the jersey in the mail a few months later, you don't get the same benefit of success by association. And if you sponsor an event, or the TV coverage, or ASO themselves, you switch on the TV, and then you see your brand being displayed while fans boo riders who are accused of being drugs cheats, and brand the race organisers and organizing body as complicit in the cheating, or question people about their actions in interviews. Why would you want to associate with it?
 
I get all that. And the German hygienics are outliers. But I think your last paragraph hits the point: it’s not going to discontinue even if some fanbase is disgruntled. They can be remodeled.

It will all be better next time. Lots of clinic posters in that vein.
 
Re:

aphronesis said:
I get all that. And the German hygienics are outliers. But I think your last paragraph hits the point: it’s not going to discontinue even if some fanbase is disgruntled. They can be remodeled.

It will all be better next time. Lots of clinic posters in that vein.
Well, the thing is, the hit won't be felt by the Tour which is where it needs to be hit most. ASO would just transfer some funds over and let one of their lesser races take the hit. Nobody's going to miss if the Tour of Oman goes down to 5 days or something. They've already let the Critérium International die and California's lost a day, so other events could be sacrificed. Any money some of the women's ones would go first. If Froome and/or Sky do fall and the current vogue for cycling in the UK takes a hit, they may pull the plug on Yorkshire or reduce it down, whereas at the moment the crowds make for some of the most positive coverage all year - but either way, I'm sure the Tour will be just fine.
 
Re: Re:

Libertine Seguros said:
aphronesis said:
I get all that. And the German hygienics are outliers. But I think your last paragraph hits the point: it’s not going to discontinue even if some fanbase is disgruntled. They can be remodeled.

It will all be better next time. Lots of clinic posters in that vein.
Well, the thing is, the hit won't be felt by the Tour which is where it needs to be hit most. ASO would just transfer some funds over and let one of their lesser races take the hit. Nobody's going to miss if the Tour of Oman goes down to 5 days or something. They've already let the Critérium International die and California's lost a day, so other events could be sacrificed. Any money some of the women's ones would go first. If Froome and/or Sky do fall and the current vogue for cycling in the UK takes a hit, they may pull the plug on Yorkshire or reduce it down, whereas at the moment the crowds make for some of the most positive coverage all year - but either way, I'm sure the Tour will be just fine.
Agreed, the corporate side of the Tour is huge. When CSC were in cycling we used to arrange huge corporate tours with all of their best clients. Many didn’t care much for cycling but the scenery, the food and all that goes with the race is a lot of fun for the participants. If Froome wins or loses the Tour there is an entire machinery that doesn’t really care.
 
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deviant said:
Why would the winner go looking to shake hands with second place?...class, acknowledgment of a good battle, any number of reasons...typical of the European Neanderthal to refuse though, I'd expect nothing less from one of our Continental cousins.
Froome was brought up well with manners and good schooling, Dumoulin was probably brought up by the family dog.
lol WOW! :)
 

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