So the BBC posted a ‘Why do the British not love Chris Froome?’ article, and seemed to miss every single important point.
They seem to think that it’s because he’s not Bradley Wiggins. Because everyone loved Wiggins (which isn’t true either but never mind).
The article said that people were being hypocritical because Wiggins is a foreign-born half-Aussie, and it’s like, nah, because you see Wiggins never cycled under any other flag while I remember Froome as a Kenyan. I’ve got no issue with people changing nationality or being dual nationals (because that would be a bit pot, kettle, black) but it does affect how some people see sportspeople.
The other problems are really not Froome’s fault at all:
1) Cycling has an image problem. Cyclists are presumed guilty. Is it fair? No. Is it reasonable given the last twenty years of cycling? Yes. That general cloud of suspicion envelops Froome because he’s one of the best cyclists at the moment.
2) Team Sky are the big team. They have money, technology and buy the best members from other teams. They are the over-dog and Froome is part of this. It is very hard to cheer for the over-dog if you are not already invested, and most casual cycling fans aren’t.
3) He’s not the first Brit to do this. It’s not fair, but first gets a lot more praise.
4) He never seems to have an off-day. Everyone else has a stage where they crack and have to be dragged up the hill by their team-mates. Froome doesn’t. Which increases suspicions because you know who else never had off-days? He who they try to pretend never happened.
5) He doesn’t seem to suffer or to have to try. I think this one really isn’t his fault, he just has one of those faces that doesn’t reveal much. Contrast this with say Thomas Voeckler, who, we all know when he’s trying because the tongue appears, or Cadel Evans, whose whole body bent into peculiar shapes when he was trying. It makes it harder to empathize.
6) The unfortunate incident of the TUE (therapeutic usage exemption) (details here). No actual wrong-doing occurred, but when you’re in a sport with a known drug problem, even innocent usage of corticosteroids is going to get looked at funny. And I have no idea why the BBC article doesn’t mention this. Or rather I do, because the article is a Froome/Sky puff piece, but that TUE is one of the reasons people feel uneasy about Froome, and to omit mention of it entirely is to make the article pointless.
Personally, I think Froome is as clean as everyone else in the peleton, and I prefer him to Wiggins but that BBC article missed a lot of the why of why people aren’t going ga-ga over him.