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The Climb By Chris Froome with David Walsh

Release date: 05th June, 2014
Publisher: Viking

List Price: £20.00
Our Price: £9.00
You Save: £11 (55%)
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If setting out to meet your heroes is a journey destined ultimately to end in disappointment, should you instead read their autobiography? Such a thought lingers long after reading Chris Froome’s The Climb.

Unlike his rival and (still) team-mate, Sir Bradley Wiggins, described here as “the lovably gruff Mod geezer,” it’s fair to say that Chris Froome has never been clasped as close to the British sporting public’s bosom, despite securing a phenomenal victory in last year’s Tour de France. One wonders whether this would be the case had he and not Wiggins been the first Brit to win cycling’s most feted race – as could have happened in 2013.

Nevertheless, Froome will start next month’s Tour in Yorkshire as firm favourite to win back-to-back editions and if you want to appreciate why, then The Climb is worth reading. The man’s dedication, desire and attention to detail mark him out as an extraordinary athlete. Unfortunately, readers need to plough through a mountainous, occasionally monotonous, back story before they arrive at base camp.

Froome is on solider ground when talking about bike racing. His account of last year’s victory on Mont Ventoux, the ‘Giant of Provence’ is excellent – it’s as though you’re sat in the saddle next to him. First he sees off Alberto Contador before shifting his focus to Nairo Quintana with around 5km remaining. He urges Quintana to take his turn at the front, but the Colombian is content to do only the bare minimum. Lumbered with the lion’s share of the work, at one point, Froome accepts that he’ll come second, but still enjoy a sizeable General Classification lead, before he realises he’s dropped Quintana too.

He eventually won the stage by 29 seconds – despite being booed and spat at en route by some spectators who believed that illegal drugs accounted for his victory. Froome maintains that he’s completely clean and in a reference to Lance Armstrong, he told a press conference after the Mont Ventoux stage that “sin isn’t contagious”.

More of this would be preferable to the sniping at Wiggins (not as though Sir Bradley was averse to getting his two-penneth-worth in his autobiography, My Time). Froome’s book is almost 150 pages longer than Wiggins’, far too much unless the “gangly, Kenya-born Brit” is a particular hero of yours.


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