4. Chris Froome
32, Great Britain, Team Sky
2017 wins: 4
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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 almost a fixture of the season to see Froome take the top step in Paris, but he was able to go one better and add a Vuelta a España title to that.
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 and adding the crowning glory to his career so far.
However, after riding to a third place finish in the World Championships time trial in Bergen to conclude his year, a cloud now hangs over Froome’s spectacular season.
At the time of publication of our 100 Best Road Riders list, we are still no clearer over what action the UCI may or may not take over Froome’s Adverse Analytical Finding at the Vuelta for salbutamol.
It’s a case that could see him banned and lose his Vuelta title should he and Team Sky be unable to explain why double the allowed limit of the substance to treat his asthma was found in his system.
While this was considered late on in the decision process, Froome remains in the list with the outcome uncertain over whether his Vuelta victory will stand.