Suffering from asthma hasn’t held back Chris Froome from chasing his dream of becoming the greatest ever professional road cyclist. Quite the opposite in fact: if certain wags are to be believed, it appears key to his success.
Which hasn’t made the Briton the most popular rider in this year’s Tour de France. Tour organisers even went so far as to try to keep him from competing, and on Thursday’s iconic stage to Alpe d’Huez the boos rang out audibly on the TV mics as he made his way up the slopes alongside team-mate Geraint Thomas.
He brushed off two – perhaps drunken – attempts at landing a blow on him and will have needed a bit of drying out after ‘liquids’ were thrown. Thankfully there’s great drying weather in the Alps, so Froome won’t have had to spend too much time worrying about those who’d see him fail. Which, it seems, covers pretty much everyone except British fans of cycling and Team Sky.
Welshman Thomas actually looks the greatest threat to Froome this time around, but Sky may choose to go with team orders and attempt to engineer another maillot jaune for ‘Froomey’. If the man they imaginatively call ‘G’ can’t take it off Mr Asthma 2018, here are four we’d rather see donning that famous yellow jersey in Paris on July 29th.
Sir David Jack
Jack was a Scottish pharmacologist who served as chief executive and chairman of Glaxo during the 1970s and 1980s. Prior to that, he created and led a group of research scientists that, in 1966, discovered salbutamol.
If anyone deserves a shot at the yellow jersey, it’s the people who made it possible for Froome to do so.
Some would say that’s Geraint Thomas and the rest of the Sky domestiques, but we think otherwise.
Sadly, Sir David passed away in 2011, just when Froome was beginning to really show the world what Jack’s most famous discovery was truly capable of achieving. A posthumous maillot jaune would be a touching tribute.
Diego Armando Maradona
To be fair, it’s pretty close between these two legends of their sports as to who shovels more pharmaceutical products into their body on a daily basis.
Maradona, famously, is not a man who’s afraid of powdering his nose at every possible convenience.
In his defence, sometimes you just need that bit of extra energy to get through the day. For some people, that’s a short jab of espresso. For others, it’s a delicious frothy pint of salbutamol with the lads from the peloton. For Maradona, it’s a bucket or two of the Colombian marching powder.
Anyway, Diego has something that Froome doesn’t: charisma. So with that in mind, we think we’d prefer to see the little Argentine pipping Froome to yellow on the Champs-Élysées. Imagine the after-party.
We already know Kim is a pretty keen sportsman, having done the 100m in 7.43 seconds and shot a round of 62 at Carnoustie on a rainy day when he was feeling a little peaky.
There are rumours he cycled the TDF route in 10 days last summer when he had two weeks of annual leave from governing the richest and happiest country on the planet, so why not give it a proper go?
Okay okay, we know he’s got a bit of a chequered record when it comes to less important things like human rights, but we’re willing to cut him a bit of slack if it means not having to watch Froome win his fifth Tour.
Literally any other rider in the race
No really, literally anyone but Froome.