What happened to Team Sky in the UCI World Team Time Trial? Although the prohibitive favorite with a stacked squad, they could only manage third in Bergen, Norway.
They lost out to winner, Team Sunweb, driven along by Giro d’Italia winner Tom Dumoulin and BMC racing, finishing 22 seconds behind.
Our theory? It was the recent naked picture of Froome that accompanied an interview with the Tour and Vuelta champion in the Sunday Times.
The unsettling picture of the emaciated Froome, huge thighs, skinny, pasty white body, dark legs and forearms was indeed a bit of a shock. Froome in the flesh is not an image one wants to commit to memory.
Froome, to his credit and sense of humor, is the first to admit the circus oddity. “I can recognize the proportions are ridiculous. Skinny upper body, massive thighs — I do feel a bit ridiculous looking in the mirror,” he said.
Perhaps that was on the mind of his Sky teammates as they powered over the rolling and demanding 42.5k course. A naked Froome would tend to be a distracting image when one is trying to focus and drain every watt from your body.
In the interview, Froome says that he spends a lot of time with visualization techniques. He pictures himself winning in the high mountains of the Alps and Pyrenees. He created a mental picture of himself, strong and in control, in those final kilometers up the Angilu during the Vuelta.
But perhaps the unsettling picture of a naked Froome was in the heads of Sky’s Geraint Thomas,Vasil Kiryienka and Michal Kwiatkowski. It was just enough to distract them from the task at hand.
“We gave it everything out on the course today,” Froome told Cyclingnews and De Telegraph after their effort. Yes, even the kit off his back.