For the past three years, the British cycling team, Team Sky, has dominated in major cycling events.
It began with Sky’s acquisition of sprinter Mark Cavendish (“the fastest man in the world”), which vaulted the team’s popularity and put them in the spotlight during big races like the Tour de France.
In 2012, Bradley “Wiggo” Wiggins – longtime Sky GC, or general classification, contender (aka team leader, captain, el grande chiefo, etc…) – won the overall in the Tour de France in an extremely well executed team effort, solidifying the team as one to watch in future races.
But the Tour 2012 was bittersweet for one Sky rider. Christopher Froome, a quiet, relatively unknown cyclist, was making a name for himself as a potential Sky GC contender in the 2012 Tour. The only problem? His youthful vigor was making el chiefo look bad. No race commentator could resist pointing out that Froome, the domestique (helper), was flying up and down the mountains while his elder leader was calling for him to slow down so that he could keep up. It left many spectators wondering, "Why isn't Froome going for the overall?"
Finally, a year later in the Tour 2013, Froome got his chance. Last year he won the Tour de France without the help of Bradley Wiggins, who was out with an injury, while also contending with a talented young rider, Nairo Quintana. Quintana, who took second, just won his first Grand Tour victory at Giro d'Italia over the weekend; he's already announced that he'll be sitting out this year's Tour.
Froome will be looking for a second win in this year’s Tour. Another season of the Brit, but despite Quintana's absence from Tour 2014, Froome will still have stiff competition in the form of Cadel Evans, Andy Schleck, and Alberto Contador – three riders with no title to hold on to, and nothing to lose.
Check back here Mondays for more rider profiles. The 2014 Tour de France takes place July 5-27.
Copyright © 2014 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved.