Chris Froome is only of my favourite riders in the peloton. I like the enigma that seems to surround him. He is quiet especially compared to a character like Bradley Wiggins, who probably over shadowed him when they were both on the same team. However this book, co-written with the great cycle-journalist David Walsh does a brilliant job at solving the previous puzzle of Chris Froome.
Froome won the 100th edition of the Tour de France, as I’ sure many of you know. He was the second British rider and team Sky rider to accomplish this feat in as many years. A composed man he often isn’t outspoken or overly talkative in many media interviews. As such I think it has taken longer for the British public to warm to him. This is added to the fact that despite having British parents he was born and schooled in Kenya, and South Africa, so feels African through-and-through. Therefore as in recent years when the media have portrayed a Froome vs. Wiggins feud it has been easier for the public to get behind Wiggo. However Froome always stood out to me as being a nicer, less egotistical, person as well as a sensational bike racer. David Walsh has done a good job at unpicking the person behind the yellow jersey showing us all the real Chris Froome.
Froome grew up in Kenya and although an ex-pat life is normally one of luxury, separation of his parents lead to a struggle to afford schooling and therefore he remains well grounded to his Kenyan roots. In fact his first proper mentor and coach was the dreadlock-boasting Kenyan cyclist David Kinjah, who had competed for Kenya in the commonwealth games and even ridden for an Italian pro-team. A local hero. Froome almost immediately fell in love with the sport and had a goal of where he wanted to go. Whether it was going out on long rides carrying all his water-bottles or waking up at 5am to get in extra hours before school, so the teachers wouldn’t find out –cycling wasn’t endorsed at his school-, or even getting stopped by police for cycling and overtaking cars on the motorway. Right from the start Froome trained very hard. I think this drive to succeed is one that is often an oversight. It is highly commendable and acts as an inspiration for anyone who is yearning to get out on to a bike or even teenagers who are contemplating professional sport. It shows the truth, the real story is that in order to succeed he had to put in a lot of work and make a lot of sacrifices.
No great man ever complains of want of opportunity.
It tells a compelling and heart-warming tale. His pure and ultimate passion for the sport. However despite still being employed by Team Sky he does not shy away from being totally honest about his feelings at different points towards the management of the team. He also goes in depth to the different key races of his careers, particularly the 99th and 100th editions of the Tour de France, both of which he had the potential to win. It shows a different side to professional cycling, the beurocracy and ultimate teamwork of sacrificing your results and possible career future for the designated race leader. Then the pressure on the race leader to achieve the results for the rest of the team.
It is a fantastic autobiography, one of the easiest to read and highly interesting; both to cyclists and sports-enthusiasts. I felt really inspired reading it and also found it very different to previous cycling autobiographies that I have read, this was definitely the first to have tips on what to do if you find yourself face-to-face with a 10-foot rock python. So if you only read one cycling autobiography this year then this is the one!