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I have ridden up Ventoux, the thought of repeated sharp accelerations while doing it brings tears to my eyes. Some would have it Christopher Froome won his first Tour on these slopes, I thought he won it on the second day in the Pyrenees when he was isolated from his team and endured repeated attacks from Saxo Tinkoff and Movie Star, but it’s a moot point. If you like that sort of analysis you might say he didn’t lose it in the Pyrenees and he won it on Ventoux. His performance in the Pyrenees let his rivals know he was a classic wel’ard the epitome of low profile grace under stress. But his performance on Ventoux told them if you can’t win you shouldn’t play and against me you can’t win… Where did he win he win his first tour The Pyrenees or Ventoux? Take your pick.
I endured the press assault on Team Sky and Froome, snarling and fuming at the rhetoric of the questions. The endless casual, perhaps better described as cowardly, unspecific, largely implied rather than expressed, accusation something unnatural was going on revved me right up. The justification for these dreary assaults – much quoted by many internet responders to the resulting media articles, and indeed by a team of German cyclists I joined for a ride from Koln to Cork, Ireland from the 18-28 July – was that Christopher beat Armstrong and Pantani’s time up Ventoux by 30 seconds. I don’t know whether he did or didn’t beat their time but if he did it merely indicates to me he is an extraordinary athlete.
I think these assaults on Christopher Froome and before Froome on Sir Bradley Wiggins, Sir David Brailsford, et al are more to do with the inadequacy of the press than the inadequacy of the riders. The media are addicted to sanctimony/anxiety/bad news, they are generally weak and tend to flow in the direction of least resistance. Certainly they are collectively vain and self important. Their sanctimony/vanity/self importance seem best served in this case by contrived scepticism. I say contrived because I do not believe any of them really think Christopher Froome is cheating or that Sir David Brailsford is crooked.
I say crooked here because I believe Sir Bradley Wiggins is clean and more crucially I believe Sir David Brailsford is clean. My belief in Sir David Brailsford goes beyond his much stated Sky Team zero tolerance policy, which is probably more to do with PR than otherwise. I believe Sir David Braisford is clean because that is the way he is. I also believe that coaches must know when their athletes are cheating, it would not be possible to mask the results from a properly engaged coach. A 10% improvement overnight/in a week cannot be masked when you are having your performance regularly and precisely measured. Such an increase could not be explained away between athlete and coach. Just about every pedal stroke professional cyclists now make on a bike is recorded. For them to be cheating you have to accept a very grand conspiracy indeed and one that is way beyond anything Bruyneel, Armstromg and Fuentes came up with.
Such a conspiracy would have to have its roots in British Cycling going back to the days when Sir David Brailsford took over from Peter Keene. And by extension it would have extended through the whole of the British team not least because just about the whole of the team have won more than one gold medal at World Championships and Olympic Games since Sir David Brailsford took control.
To buy into the idea Christopher Froome is cheating you would have to buy into the idea Sir Bradley Wiggins, Shane Sutton, Tim Kerrison, Sir Chris Hoy, Laura Trott, Jo Rowsell, Dani King, Jason Kenny, Chris Boardman, Ed Clancy, Geraint Thomas, Mark Cavendish etc etc, all of them are cheating. And all this without so much as a sniff of scandal in any part of the British Cycling Team or Team Sky. This in the face of relentless scrutiny at a time when it is very hard to keep secrets. Finally add into this the multiple examples of spontaneous humour and dignity from just about every one of the people mentioned above in interviews and interactions with fans and fellow athletes.
Now look at the competition through the same lens – Is there another team that can say the same thing? Did Lance Armstrong or Jan Ulrich ever crack a joke? Alberto Contador has never been with a team that has not been up to their necks in iffy tests, convicted cheating riders and innuendo. Similarly all the others I can think of.
Cheating has been institutionalised in Spain and Italy. And Spain, courtesy of their declared intention of officially destroying the evidence in the Fuentes trial, is showing all the signs of wanting things to remain that way.
Admire a great athlete specifically and by extension Sir David Brailsford, his great teams and the team’s coaches generally, buy one our Christopher Froome t shirts.
These t shirts are unique for being made exclusively for us wholly with fibres ring spun into yarns manufactured exclusively for WeAdmire. These yarns are then knitted into a single jersey fabric suitable for t shirts.
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These attributes deliver shirts that remain cool and dry almost regardless of what you might do in them and similarly they remain fresh. And the ongoing performance of the fabric is guaranteed. This is important, these shirts will become your favourite items of apparel, you will want to wear your shirts again and again.
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The cut and fit and sizing of these shirts is exclusive to us and was specified by Anastasia Vouyouka, a published guru of fit in the fashion industry.
The feel of the very best natural fibre shirts you have experienced with the performance of the fibres that set the benchmarks for wicking and freshness. It is very unlikely you will have experienced this level of technical performance in a decorated t shirt before.