We take a look at why Chris Froome is number one in our 100 Best Road Riders of 2017
1. Chris Froome
32, Great Britain, Team Sky
2017 wins: 4
If Chris Froome’s brilliant achievement of winning four Tours de France seemed unremarkable by his own towering standards, what he eventually achieved in 2017 was anything but.
It’s become oft said that winning a Grand Tour double is near enough impossible in the high standards of modern cycling, but Froome’s victory in the Tour and then the Vuelta a España demonstrates he’s now setting the standard of what’s possible.
The 32-year-old’s build-up to the Tour this year featured far from the scintillating form it usually does. No victories in stages or overall at the likes of the Tour de Romandie or the Critérium du Dauphiné put serious question marks over his form entering the Tour.
While his performance in the opening time trial in Düsseldorf hinted at some form appearing for the Tour, Froome’s ride was unusually underwhelming for the opening weeks. No attacks, no defining stamp on the race.
But his methodical and calculated approach, while different, saw him claim overall victory for a fourth time, and seemingly left something in the tank for a full-on effort at the Vuelta.
The Vuelta is a race Froome has never quite been able to crack over the years; taking three second place finishes before finally finding the formula this year.
What was most remarkable about his Vuelta win though was the dominance with which he did it.
Taking the red jersey after some relentless attacking on stage three, he never relinquished his lead as he rode to two stage wins and chipped away at his rivals with every demanding stage the Spanish race threw at them.
Even when he struggled, as he did on the steep finish to Los Machucos on stage 17, his determination and incredibly strong team meant he made calculated losses.
Team Sky’s ruthless team dominance of the Tour may split opinion of cycling fans, but there’s no question Froome has accomplished an extraordinary feat in this year. Even before you consider he went on to take a bronze medal at the World Championships time trial, he now surely sits among the all-time Grand Tour greats.
There’s no rider more worthy than Froome of the top spot in our 100 countdown this year. And who knows, if he completes his ambitious Giro d’Italia/Tour de France double in 2018, we could be back here in 12 months time.