You think Chris Froome is British
Chris Froome isn’t British.
He’s a Kenyan born, South African schooled, Monaco resident. I doubt he can recite a single Morecambe and Wise sketch, and probably pronounces Worcestershire like an American.
British Cycling don’t think he’s British. Dave Brailsford doesn’t think he’s British. Rupert Murdoch doesn’t think he’s British. Even Chris Froome doesn’t think he’s British.
It’s been noted before by more prominent cycling journalists than me that, in many ways, it might have made an even better Team Sky story had he been the first African Tour de France winner, rather than the second British winner.
It wasn’t to be.
Just to be clear, I’ve got no problem with ‘old waggly elbows’ riding under the British flag. I’m totally on board with the fluid nature of nationality in a globalised world – the more the merrier, I say.
But still, when it comes the trivial world of sport, he’s not British, is he?
Your favourite cycling shop doesn’t physically exist
It probably has a name like Wiggle, and ruthlessly dominates online retail like the very embodiment of capitalism.
Lots of the things they sell are discounted to the point where you can get them cheaper online than your local bike shop can get them ‘in the trade’. And by local bike shop, I’m talking about those actual buildings you see on the street, staffed by real people, who talk to you about stuff and care about your bike.
Well, the good ones do, anyway.
I understand why you might buy some stuff from an online bike shop – that’s nothing to be ashamed of – but I’m gently suggesting that it shouldn’t be your favourite.
Your favourite should be the one that smells of chain lube and inner tubes, and gives you advice about the best solution for your particular problem.
If your problem is bike related, I mean.
I can’t vouch for the judgement of a bike mechanic in matters of personal finance, or digestive health, for example.
But then again, I wouldn’t ask my financial adviser what kind of bottom-bracket my Italian racing bike needs, and I wouldn’t press my doctor for a prediction as to the winner of Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
So pick a favourite shop, have a chat with them, and spend some money there.
If you don’t, Wiggle will swallow them all up.
You think the Tour de Yorkshire is a great name for a bike race
What is it that makes the Belgian classics so great?
It’s their sheer Belgian-ness.
They race on cobbles because they have lots of them. The spectators drink Belgian beer and eat frites smothered with mayonnaise, because that’s what you do in Belgium. The ‘Lion of Flanders’ flag flies from every camper van.
They don’t beautify the backdrops, or wax lyrical about the scenery, because they’re too busy celebrating what they’ve got. There’s wind and rain, rutted farm tracks, and vicious climbs with too many vowels; like Karnemelkbeekstraat, and Taaienberg.
If anywhere has regional pride in spades it’s Yorkshire. So why aren’t they flying the white rose instead of nodding and winking to le Tour de France?
The Tour de Yorkshire? The Cote de Robin Hood’s Bay?
That’s just daft.
Or was it part of the deal when getting the Grande Depart back in 2014 that they had to snuggle up to our French cousins at every opportunity?
Either way, the Tour de Yorkshire needs to be less ‘de’ and more Yorkshire.
It should be all Theakston’s bitter, Yorkshire Puddings, whippet fancying, ferrets down the trousers, and forced rhubarb for pudding.
The Tour t’ Yorkshire – that’s something I could get on board with.
(Images: Froome via Wikimedia cc | The Edge Cycleworks by kind permission)