Armstrong's black legacy means Froome is no hero of mine yet

Chris Froome

Despite his excellence at the Tour de France I find it hard to accept Chris Froome after the revelations of Lance Armstrong.

By the end of this weekend we as a nation could once again be celebrating another great success in sport. If the Olympics last summer did not make you proud to be British; or the Wimbledon win for Andy Murray earlier this summer then it is hard to consider what will.

Perhaps an Open victory for Lee Westwood? Maybe taking a 2-0 lead in the Ashes at Lords? What about a second Brit parading into the Champs-Elysees as the Tour de France winner in as many years?

That should surely do it.

Today that will be the case as Chris Froome will follow up Bradley Wiggins as Brit’s do it the bus way at Le Grand Tour; you wait forever and then two come along at once.

Yesterday Froome came in third as surely a future Maillot-Jaune winner himself Nairo Quintana of Colombia took the stage victory and this year’s White Jersey. But he opened up even more time between himself and Alberto Contador; leaving him assured of victory today.

To be honest we could all see this coming a year ago. Froome was dubbed the ‘super-domestique’ for the way in which he sometimes dragged Bradley Wiggins through the hardest climbs of the tour, and arguably at times looked better than our eventual knight and Sports Personality of the Year.

Even before Wiggins was forced to withdraw from this year’s Tour Team Sky’s magnificent principal Dave Brailsford announced the ‘super-domestique’ would be rewarded for his efforts with the lead run in France.

But it appears that some people feel that Froome is just to super for the real world.

Recently the 28-year-old has spent most of his time rejecting talk of potential drug-taking and blood-doping; to the point where Brailsford handed over his data to French paper L’Equipe to peruse with their notorious scrutiny.

There was a point in my life when I would be up in arms for a Tour de France leader being chastised and under-appreciated in such a way.

‘’Froome mountain biked in the Kenyan highlands as a boy,’’ I would say, ‘’that is why he is such a machine!’’

Nowadays however my love affair with the Tour is kind of dead.

Growing up I had very few sporting heroes. I was selective, very careful of who to adore.

After my first hero Andrei Kanchelskis left my beloved Everton for Fiorentina that mind-set was strengthened; sport is too fickle for heroes.

Then I began getting into road cycling thanks to one man and his unbelievable story; Lance Armstrong.

And I remained his staunchest supporter right up until his Tour de France greatness proved to be just that; a story - and a dark and lonely story at that.

For me that was it. I always thought Armstrong was the victim of a jealous witch-hunt; the continent angry at this American upstart.

But one emotionless interview with Oprah Winfrey later and I realised that Armstrong was a fraud.

Froome may well be and in fact probably is 100% clean; I have absolutely no doubt about that and when I watch him address Paris this evening draped in yellow I will be proud of the Kenyan-born English lad done good.

But will I put him on a pedestal? No.

Because the world of road cycling still has a long way to go to remove the black smudge left by Lance Armstrong.

Like a heartbroken lover I am now more cautious, less open and more guarded to this world until time heals the wounds left by Lance Armstrong.

And maybe then I will be able to call Chris Froome the hero he deserves to be.

image: © jvanattenhoven