Twelve months on from Sir Bradley Wiggins receiving a knighthood for winning the Tour de France and time trial gold medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games, Chris Froome has been bestowed with… nothing.
The 2013 Tour de France winner did not feature in the 2014 New Year Honours list – a rollcall of people officially recognised for their achievements. In fact, no-one from the world of cycling received any honour: no riders, coaches, fund-raisers or organisers.
Much has been made of the fact that more women were honoured than men this year. But there was nothing for double track world champion Becky James, nothing for mountain bike world cup and world champion Rachel Atherton.
To be fair, it wasn’t just cycling that was ignored. Very few sportspeople figured in this year’s list, including Wimbledon winner Andy Murray, although as ever no reasons are given for non-inclusion (I’ll say ‘non-inclusion’, because ‘exclusion’ is far more sinister).
Previously, riders have received honours for outstanding achievements in cycling – and not just for winning Olympic medals. Mark Cavendish was bestowed with an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in the June 2011 Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to British cycling.
Froome became the second Briton to win the Tour after a standout season that also saw him win the Tour of Oman, Criterium International, Tour de Romandie and Criterium du Dauphine. And let us not forget that he was second in the Tour the previous year and claimed bronze in the London 2012 time trial behind Wiggins.
Froome’s Tour win was not a formality by any means. The Kenyan-born British national fought his way through the race, winning three stages along the way. In several respects, it was a harder edition of the race to win than in 2012.
Perhaps the Queen is saving her honours for Froome until next year. With the Tour starting in Yorkshire in July there’s a distinct possibility that Froome will again be in yellow by the time the race hits Paris at the end of the month.
Perhaps Froome, or James, or Atherton are still not yet recognised as big enough British public figures to receive an accolade. There’s no denying that Froome’s Tour victory was not met with the same fanfare as ‘Wiggomania’, and that his profile is not as high as that of his formerly side-burned Sky team-mate.
Or perhaps the bar has been set so high by the achievements of British cyclists in recent years that a Tour de France win or world title is no longer noteworthy, just expected.