Froome improving physically, mentally, not comedically.

A funny Froome?

In the latest interview with cyclingnews, Chris Froome says he’s still improving mentally and physically even after winning four Tour de France titles.

“The numbers this year in the Vuelta were better than they’ve ever been in my life. The numbers were higher than I’ve ever seen before,” said Froome. “I feel still as a rider now I’m still learning, I’m still learning, still improving.”

However, as one of the biggest, most visible stars in the sport of pro cycling, Froome still has one glaring weakness. He has shown no improvement comedically.

Indeed, over the last few years, there has been zero skill development in terms of comedy, humor and spontaneous ad-libs. He’s still the well-mannered, earnest and overly-polite rider who rarely says anything amusing.

In short, Froome isn’t funny or entertaining. There are no laughs to be had — from the Tour Down Under all the way through to the Vuelta a Espana. While he may be crushing his rivals, he’s putting his audience to sleep.

“I don’t think he has a funny bone,” said Marcel Rigolade, who works as a trainer and stand-up comedian for Francaise des Jeux. “Really, he never says anything that makes you laugh. Yes, he is strong on the bike but he is very weak on the funny punchlines.”

Humorist and time trial specialist Taylor Phinney of EF Education First-Drapac also sees an obvious gap in Froome’s comedy abilities. “Yeah, I mean he needs better material, really. I don’t know who writes his stuff but it’s not happening. I can ad-lib all day, I’m a joker philosopher, but Froome struggles with the funnies.”

Some critics point to a culture at Team Sky that discourages the steady development of Froome’s sense of humor and improvisation. “They are called Sky-Bots for a reason. Robots do what they are told and they are not programmed to tell jokes,” said Belgian cycling commentator Serge Grapje. “Froome might be hilarious — but we would never know —  I suspect Sky’s manager David Brailsford is holding him back.”

There are other observers who point to the overly analytical approach taken by Sky to explain the low comedy scores. “They are all about science, hard numbers, analytics. There is nothing funny about that,” says Aldo Barzelletta, a journalist for La Gazzetta dello Sport. “It is a mindset and in their mind, laughter is not part of the winning equation.”

However, this point of view on Sky and Froome’s sense of comedy does not square well with the history of the British team. “Wiggins was hilarious. I mean, flat out, non-stop, funny,” said former Sky director Scott Sunderland. “Brad was very witty, he could do improv with the best of them. But when he retired, the comedy also disappeared.”

A deeper examination of Froome shows that there is, in fact, comedic potential. The man who hopes to join the legends, the five time winners of the Tour de France, is not without hope when it comes to amusement.

“That naked photo he did on the bike, that was funny,” said Phil Bonmots, a cycling writer at The Guardian. “He can poke fun at himself. And we saw him having fun with the tai-chi robes at the Shanghai Criterium. But right now, it’s just visual comedy. I’d like to see him start to flex his sense of humor. He’s only 32, there’s still time to joke around.”





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