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Carlton Kirby: What inspired Chris Froome's golden era

Kirby: What inspired Froome's golden era
By Eurosport

24/07/2017 at 14:52Updated 25/07/2017 at 11:39

Eurosport's voice of cycling Carlton Kirby analyses Chris Froome's performance in winning a fourth Tour de France. He believes Froome's detractors won't derail a gentleman with a ruthless killer instinct for victory.

Smiling in the face of adversity among disgraceful Marseille boos

If there was a moment that summed up the champion attitude of Chris Froome at this Tour de France, it came seconds before he set off for the time trial on Saturday in Marseille.

Froome was in position ready to go after the home hope Romain Bardet. He is a real gentleman and sat on his bike. Before he knew it, the boos started and they were getting louder and louder. Like a crescendo around the Velodrome.

Video - 'Disgraceful!' Froome booed entering stadium at end of time trial

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All Froome was doing was grinning. It was fantastic to see him smiling. The former boxing champion Chris Eubank was once asked about a similar situation when dealing with a hostile home crowd.

"How do you cope with all this aggression?" he was asked. He said: "I channel their aggression to defeat my opponent."

That is exactly what Froome has done here. It was quite disgraceful, yet he took all that rubbish from the crowd and thought: 'Right, I'm going to stick this right back at you.'

Video - "An amazing feeling!" Froome delight at time trial performance

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Bardet came into the stadium like a goal had been scored by Marseille, but Froome is just behind him like a shark. I loved watching it from the commentary box.

Froome was trying to overtake him coming into the stadium. It was fantastic because the crowd did not know what to do. It was also hilarious. He had made his point.

Froome was genetically built to win the Tour de France

When Froome won the Tour de France for the first time in 2013, the French public was driven on by a French press who have always been extremely critical of Team Sky.

Even the controversy this year of the skinsuits they were wearing as part of the time trial was done to detract from Froome's achievement for Britain. Those skinsuits have actually been used by Movistar for many years without any complaints.

Then all of a sudden, questions are asked about these suits being super expensive and super high-tech: the question of whether they have had anything added to them is put out there.

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The UCI have always said that the manufacture of skinsuits must be one complete piece of fabric. Basically, you are not allowed to add anything to it.

It was found that this was an approved production method. So in other words the UCI are saying: 'leave Froome alone and shut up.'

But it dragged on and on. The French press can be like a dog with a bone. They never got over it.

And so unfortunately, in the French press, Team Sky are viewed as the bad boys. There has been a lot of controversy, however valid or not it is.

They are the biggest, most powerful cycling team on the planet, and as a result they take a lot of heat. I think it is unjustifiably so in the case of Froome.

He is a proper gent, and has got a God-given gift as someone who is genetically made for winning these Grand Tour cycling events.

The Froome golden era is upon us

When Froome won the Tour de France for the first time, he was criticised. But he suggested back then that it was going to be the start of an era.

He would honour it, but he was hoping this would be looked back upon as a golden era in cycling.

I think that we will indeed look back in this period as a golden era in cycling. I believe in Froome, I believe in his performances and I believe in the team that supports him.

I hope that belief isn't misplaced later on, but I don't see anything that would make me think otherwise.

Video - Chris Froome mounts podium for anthem

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Despite his critics, I think Froome is a fabulous champion, a worthy champion, and that this Froome era is not over. Four Tour victories, and perhaps more to come as he bids to equal the records of Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain.

He is 32, and I think we should all be looking forward to the next four years at least, and seeing where he can go from here.

Froome's astonishing achievements deserve more recognition in Britain

I don't think Froome gets the recognition he merits in the UK. He is third favourite behind Anthony Joshua and Jermain Defoe to win the Sports Personality of the Year Award which isn't really right when you consider his success at the world's biggest cycling race.

It is partially down to a bit of bad public relations. He doesn't spend enough time in Great Britain, and I think if he spent a bit more time over here, people would feel a bit more warmer towards him.

Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome

Bradley Wiggins, Chris FroomeReuters

His schedule is so busy, he probably doesn't have enough time to devote to a charm offensive.

In PR terms, there is a big difference between Britain's big three of Froome, Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish. Wiggins was like a Swiss Army knife who could basically do track, grand tours and classics. He even tried to be a ski jumper.

Cav is like the bad boy everyone loves. He is super roguish, like a street fighter who is super cool. As soon as Cav puts on a branded hat, everyone wants the branded hat. As soon as Froome puts on a branded hat, nobody takes any notice.

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He is such a lovely man, who is extraordinarily sensitive. Yet he has this killer instinct which is just incredible. He is a family man, and is a fabulous rider.

In the modern game, it is harder than ever to make predictions. In the old peloton, there were few stars, and an assortment of line towers. Everyone wants a piece of the action these days. There are a lot of riders getting closer to Froome. The Team that Sky have assembled around Froome is amazing, and so formidable.

That's why you have had so much of the French and European media whingeing. They look through the Sky roster, and you can see six guys capable of being team leaders with another team.

That is a powerful force backing up the best rider on the planet at the moment. I have so much admiration and affection for Froome.

The great thing is it is not over.

Follow Eurosport's voice of cycling Carlton Kirby on Twitter @carltonkirby

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