No doubt, much of the cycling world would have wanted anyone but a Sky rider to win Le Tour. There is a strong argument that any domination of a sport becomes unhealthy over time and six wins in seven years certainly amounts to domination in my book.
However, I guess that if a Sky rider had to win, Geraint Thomas was a pretty good choice – a man who:
- seems to be very popular in the peleton,
- served his apprenticeship with good grace and humour (in 2007 he finished 140th out of 141),
- handled the pressure commendably (rather in contrast with David Brailsford at times),
- passes the ‘would you be happy to have a drink with him in the pub’ test, and
- above all, is not Chris Froome.
Cards on the table, I am a big fan of Chris Froome and believe him to be a great champion – but I fear that the reception he’d have got when standing on the top step of the podium would have been ‘mixed’ at best (!) and, in some eyes, the victory would have been potentially tainted.
Of course, being a member of Sky since its creation, Geraint may be tarred with the same brush in the eyes of the sceptics but I believe that he’s never applied for any TUEs.
He doesn’t even have mild asthma – how many self-respecting pro cyclists can say that.
It was most certainly the best “public relations result” for Sky.
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