In just over two weeks, Chris Froome will begin his audacious attempt at the Giro-Tour double. Based on his performance so far in the Tour of the Alps, he says he’s ready.
“I think that I’m in a great position considering my main objective is to be ready for the Giro. I’m on track for that. I’m happy with how I’m feeling,” said Froome after his fourth place on stage two.
Yes, he has his training dialed in and he’s excited and highly motivated. He can’t wait to kick off his Giro campaign on May 4th in Jerusalem, Israel.
If you think a Jerusalem start might be volatile, then factor in the consistent media storm over Froome as he continues to race despite his adverse analytical finding for the asthma medication salbutamol. He says he’s innocent but, based on legal precedence and scientific data, his odds of avoiding a suspension and the loss of his Vuelta a Espana title are marginal at best.
Despite the noise, Froome trains on, treating his high-profile legal case the same way he treats a steep gradient on a mountain climb — head down, eyes locked on his power meter, legs turning, oblivious to everything and everyone. It’s sort of like having your head in the sand while still pedaling a bike — quite an exceptional skill.
The steady rumor was that the Giro was able to put together an impressive appearance fee to convince Froome to race the Giro even though his top priority was winning his fifth Tour de France. Now, we wonder if Giro boss Mauro Vegni wishes he could have all that money back and skip the three weeks of doping and legal questions, the dark clouds spoiling his beautiful race.
Froome is ready for the Giro but the question is whether the Giro is ready for Froome. Or for that matter, is the sport and its millions of fans all over the world ready for a different kind of race spectacle?
Vegni implored the UCI to rule on Froome of at least give them a guarantee that should Froome win the Giro, the rider wouldn’t lose that result in the event of a suspension. They wanted an official document for Embarrassment Protection.
As UCI president David Lappartient recently said, that’s clearly not going to happen and now the question is whether there will be a decision before the Tour de France. It appears to us that the UCI and A.S.O are working together on strategies to keep Froome out of the French grand tour.
Meanwhile, we’re headed toward an Italian farce. Froome with his salbutamol overdose, leading the ethically compromised Team Sky. Have we heard a single word from team boss David Brailsford in the last four to six months? It’s like he’s hiding in a media-proof bunker underneath London.
Froome believes he is physically and mentally ready to ride the Giro d’Italia. Ethically, we’d say he is terribly un-prepared.