Arguing With Myself About Team Sky

I was once told my view on Team Sky’s dominance – and jiffy bags – was balanced and refreshing. I don’t like Sky, but I try not to obsess on one collection of riders. I’d rather talk about key moments in races, winning moves or bold tactics. I’ve also been told my view on Team Sky is dull and inconclusive. I don’t make my mind up. I don’t love Chris Froome (he’s never been my preferred race winner) but nor do I condemn him.

If somebody asked me which team have won six tours in the last seven years I’d say Team Sky with no hesitation or caveat. Unfortunately, alarm bells have been ringing almost the entire time. Following Geraint Thomas’ victory at this year’s Tour – a race where Froome looked surprisingly human, but former E3 Harelbeke winner Thomas delivered a flawless climbing performance – it’s time to make my mind up on the issues which make the Sky regime quite so dubious.

Sky Car

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Team of the Tour 2018

The 2018 Tour will eventually be remembered fondly; John Degenkolb’s resurgent win in Roubaix, a cracking battle on Alpe d’Huez and Julian Alaphilippe’s moustache curling with happiness all over France. Nevertheless, fans are in agreement that the final week fizzled out without much happening. Who were the stars of the last three weeks? Here’s my team of the Tour.

Julian Alaphlippe
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What’s the right amount of sprint stages?

After a cold winter, we all look forward to the first proper hot day. We might even get bored of waiting and jump on a plane to our favourite coast. And then – when we do get some real sun – we all know someone who will declare: ‘This too hot, far too hot’.

Do we even know what we want anymore? Do we like bunch sprints as much as we thought? We’ve all been waiting for a sprint showdown of the calibre provided by this year’s Tour; are we really already bored? Maybe you can have too much of a good thing.

Sagan

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(Not) The People’s Champ!

Ahead of the Tour de France I have, like many, been thinking about the all-conquering, salbutamol abusing, not quite BBC Sports Personality of the Year, Chris Froome. Wounded by the early 2000s, I have mastered the dark art of burying my head in the sand when it comes to Froome. That’s not to say I’ve ignored the Team Sky sponsored alarm bells over the last five years, but given the choice between arguing about Froome’s cadence and admiring one of Alexis Gougeard’s doomed late attacks, I’m always choosing Alexis.

After recovering at the Giro to squash everybody with a freakish attack, Froome has well and truly rattled the Tour de France organizers. Can they handle another Tour winner with an asterisk? Can anybody stop him from winning? Can anybody stop him from riding? Does anybody want to see him ever again?!

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What could happen in the final week?

Simon Yates is absolutely flying. He’s clearly ahead in the GC, and clearly the best climber at this year’s Giro. Whilst he’s dancing a perfect ten, his closest rivals are trudging round the dancefloor at an ugly tempo. Unfortunately for Yates, there’s a time trial to come before three monster mountain stages bring the race to a close. Basically, his two minute advantage provides no real assurances. There’s a time trial tomorrow before we visit Pratonevoso, Finestre, Sestriere, Jafferau, San Pantaleone and Cervinia. Here are a few scenarios that could play out…

Dumoulin Giro

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