Thomas. Next Froome victim?
Two news stories today seem connected to me or at least created a connection in my mind. In the first, BMC’s Richie Porte made it clear he’s still angry about what his former Sky captain and once-upon-a-time good friend Chris Froome did to him in the Critérium du Dauphiné
What happened in the French one week stage race is well known: going into the final stage it appeared Porte had a good cushion, victory wrapped up. Then his former best bud Froome encouraged the other GC rivals to attack Porte and refused to help the Tasmanian close down those attacks. Eventually Jakob Fuglesang stole the stage win and the overall by ten seconds and a friendship shredded.
“When he (Froome) is going around asking all the other GC guys to attack, that’s personal and it’s not something that you forget in a hurry,” Porte told the Herald Sun
. “You bury it a bit, but I’m not going to lie, even though we had a good chat about it, if I can return that favor I’m going to return that favor.”
The brings me to the second story on the Monday roundup: Geraint Thomas and his attempts to carve out a grand tour leadership role at Team Sky
. He had the captain’s role in last year’s Giro but crashed out. Now, with Froome taking the surprise decision to tackle the Giro-Tour double, Thomas finds himself kicked out of Italy. Bye Geraint, miss ya!
He’s already talking about shifting his priority to the Vuelta a Espana after he rides shotgun for Froome in the upcoming Tour. More importantly, the Froome grand tour land-grab has him thinking about next year, a new contract, and life after Sky.
“Trek-Segafredo have shown an interest and there are some other teams as well,” said Thomas. “I’m not getting any younger. I don’t feel old, but I’m 31 now and I probably only have three or four more years at the very top, so I want to make the most of those. I’m not saying I want to leave or I’m going to but I certainly want to sit down and see what everyone has got to say.”
What everyone has got to say is that there’s very little room in Sky after Froome takes the Giro and Tour. And who’s to say — what if Froome breezes to a Giro and Tour victory? He might even be crazy and greedy enough to attack the Vuelta and dominate all three grand tours in one season. Trek-Segafredo starts to look more and more enticing.
Which in turn, creates a deja-vu scenario in my head. I can easily imagine Thomas riding the 2019 Criterium de Dauphine, leading the race and then discovering that his relationship with Froome isn’t quite as warm and friendly as he thought, despite all the years of domestique duty. He’ll learn the same, exact lesson that Riche Porte was schooled on last season and one that former Sky teammate Mikel Landa will also surely discover in the 2018 Giro d’Italia.
“Chris is one of the hardest men you could meet on a bike and he’s got that killer streak in him, I suppose,” said Porte. True dat. Froome is ruthless with all his rivals, especially old friends.