Chris Froome. Spanish man of mystery.

Froome. Plan working?

Froome. Plan working?

Where is Froomey in Spain, exactly?

Yes, he’s at the Vuelta a Espana but we’re still not sure where his form is, precisely.

Andrew Hood at Velonews hit the nail on the headline with “Will the real Chris Froome stand up?”

He was supposed to take the race over at the36.7K time trial. Usually very strong against the clock, he misjudged his effort on the first half of the course and went out too hard. He suffered for that exuberance on the back-half and managed only tenth. Even his teammate Vasil Kiryienka beat him.

Froome and Sky are meticulous in their preparations and while the Vuelta doesn’t demand their full Tour prep, it was still a surprise that Froome’s calculations were off.

While Alberto Contador is busy turning his medical miracle into a Vuelta victory, Froome, by contrast is riding quietly along. The Spaniard had a broken tibia while all Froome can dramatize is a wrist injury. Contador clearly has powers of recuperation that Froome doesn’t possess.

Contador barely made it to the start list at the Vuelta. One would think the Kenyan-born Brit would have had more training time than Contador but we’re not seeing those results.

We thought Contador would be the one slowing building back form, leg still taped up, doctors writing him up in the Journal of Freakishly Fast Recoveries. Yet there’s Froome, getting the full Sky protection scheme, but unable to show some punch in the mountains.

Even today on stage 13 to the Parque de Cabárceno, Froome finished with all the top GC riders but never really showed any aggression other than one inconsequential dig. He finished with the Contador group and kept his 4th overall and nothing more.

Long way to go in the Helta Skelta Vuelta, the loco grand tour nobody can control. We all know that and the nasty climbs are yet to abuse and torture. By next week we could be extolling the return of Chris Froome.

However, right now, Froome the Fragile makes one wonder again about keeping Bradley Wiggins out of the Vuelta. Froome got his wish in keeping Wiggo of the Sky Tour roster but why Spain?

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