Second place after crash-filled season is a fine achievement

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We’re not getting on the top step of the podium much this season. Crashes, resulting injuries and plain old bad luck have all conspired against British riders this year.

After serious falls in the Critérium du Dauphiné and the Tour de France, I admit a sense of relief that Chris Froome made it through the Vuelta unscathed.

Second place overall wasn’t a bad achievement either, especially after his lacklustre performance in the first half of the race. He was pinning his hopes on a third-week resurgence, which duly kicked in, and enabled him to outpace everyone except Alberto Contador.

The fact that the Spanish named him the most aggressive rider of the race, beating the exploits of Alejandro Valverde and Joaquim Rodríguez, is due recognition.

Now, with four top-two placings in Grand Tours, the Sky leader is undoubtedly our best ever stage race rider and he’s achieved it all in just four seasons. If he can push Contador this close while riding into form, then he should have no trouble matching him, Vincenzo Nibali and Nairo Quintana in next year’s Tour de France.

Unfortunately, Mark Cavendish is still crashing. Just like Harrogate at the beginning of the Tour, the would-be world’s fastest sprinter hit the ground on the first stage of the Tour of Britain and we were denied a proper head-to-head with Marcel Kittel until the finale in London on Sunday afternoon.

Cav can take some consolation in running the German close after a difficult week but it’s still going to be a season he’ll want to forget.

Robert Garbutt is editor of Cycling Weekly

  • Hugh Anderson

    Got to laugh when Cycling Weekly appeared to think Froome could have won had he not been injured,in case you have forgotten Contador had a fractured knee,not just a injured wrist.When is this shower going to give us a break with this team Sky

  • poisonjunction

    Not forgetting the filming Motorcycle crews when ‘chased’ by Spanish riders – ever wonder how the ‘in your face’ close up shots happen? It’s mostly NOT telephoto lenses, the giveaway is when wide angle views give on screen glimpses of the rear of the actual filming motorcycle suggesting a gap of only 10 to 15 feet – if that’s not giving pace, and shelter, I’m a Dutchman. Even the helicopter camera’s are in on the act, neatly leaving the close up camera motor cycles …. just …. out … of …. the …. frame – obviously instructions from the live broadcast editor!

    It needs stricter commissar control and, a two minute penalty for offending riders and a ban on the motorcycle driver and/ or respective film/TV company instructing the camera crew for a day or two, to get the message across.

    A poster elsewhere praised the quality of European filming compared to US – he doesn’t understand US filming is ‘clean’, European isn’t!

  • Geoff Waters

    Watching the three leading Spanish riders plus Aru repeatedly attacking on the final climbs in the 2014 Vuelta mountain stages fuels the conspiracy theory that they colluded against Froome. The grinning Contador then sat on Froome’s back wheel and attacked in the final kilo to take the stages. It was all reminiscent of what the Spanish did to stop Robert Millar from winning the Vuelta way back when.