They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Idioms haven’t caught up with the modern social media appetite for short videos, but the sentiment still stands: in a short Instagram reel Chris Froome bemoans rim brakes as a key contributor to his misfortunes in the Tour of Rwanda, where a puncture and a sluggish wheel change put paid to any chances of victory despite being in the break for 75km.
Froome’s relationship with disc brakes has been tumultuous. In early 2021 he was unhappy to be using disc brakes, before being won over by them in October of the same year.
Come April of 2022 he yet again derided disc brakes, slamming pad rub and alignment issues. It seems that, come Spring, you can count on snowdrops, daffodils, changeable weather, cobbles, and Froome flying the flag for old-school tech.
The video, with the brilliantly unambiguous caption “Rim Brakes>Disc brakes”, followed by some melting face emojis shows the four-time Tour de France winner riding solo on an aerial shot, then rain dripping of his face, before cutting to a shot of him slowly having a Roval front wheel fitted from neutral service, and again to a final shot of him receiving a second replacement wheel from his own team car with a marauding peloton closing in fast and eventually engulfing him as he stands helpless by the roadside.
While far from incendiary, this post does mark a departure from his more considered comments immediately following the stage, where he said:
“I got a front wheel puncture and I didn’t have a team car behind me as they had already pulled the team car out. I managed to get another wheel from neutral service but it wasn’t really compatible with the bike so I had to stop again and change it with my team car. Then the peloton caught me and surged over the top of the climb and that’s where the lights went out for me.”
While it may have been overshadowed by misfortune, his 75km breakaway was a hark back to his best form of previous years. Indeed, Froome’s last pro win came at the 2018 Giro d’Italia, where he staged a phenomenal turnaround on the road to Bardonecchia with an 80km solo ride.
This time around, he’d spend a similar time on the attack, though the ending was quite different – Froome found himself caught by the main group with 40km remaining, as a result of his back-to-back wheel changes.
The Israel-Premier Tech rider then suffered further misfortune as he crashed within the final kilometres, and finished several minutes behind the main…
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