Ian Hart: Will Froome go down as a cycling great?

New Everton manager Marco Silva. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)
New Everton manager Marco Silva. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

As the Tour de France enters its final week, at the time of going to press, a previously unheralded British rider, Geraint Thomas, finds himself with the yellow jersey holding off defending champion Chris Froome.

Four-time winner Froome is hoping to clinch his seventh tour title and perhaps cement his place as the greatest cyclist this country has ever produced.

However, it’s all against a back drop of whispering and almost smear campaign against Froome and his Team Sky, despite being cleared of any wrongdoing over a controversial incident involving the use of an asthma drug.

Froome has been subjected to protests by spectators who wrongly believe that the rider has gained his success by unfair means. Clearly unfair in itself, the governing body (UCI) – the same people who thankfully exposed Lance Armstrong for what he was – have cleared Froome and his team but it’s apparent that this cloud will always be above his head and ultimately detract from his achievements.

Is that fair?

Clearly not and it’s probably equally as unfair as riders like Armstrong gaining an advantage through taking drugs.

If an exonerated Froome does come through and win his seventh tour title then hopefully it will go a long way to winning back his doubters and detractors.

n When they come to write the history of domestic football in the 21st century will they look back on July 2018 as the moment it truly went mad?

A year ago Watford paid £10million for 20-year-old Brazilian Richarlison, which by Premier League terms he’s not really pulled up any trees with five goals and while being capped at youth level he’s yet to play for his national side.

Now 12 months down the line new Everton boss and his former Hornets manager, Marco Silva, goes back to Vicarage Road to sign the player for a reported £40million fee, potentially rising in time to £50million.

That’s £40million for a player who scored five goals and isn’t a full international?

A big gamble for the Toffees or footballing madness?

Only time will tell, but as a Brighton fan starting his 46th season at a level that I’d never thought I see the Albion be at, how long before the Seagulls spend £40million on a player?

Perhaps even more telling, how long before Tony Bloom considers spending that kind of money on one player?

Have you read?

Worthing United to take on Mile Oak in memorial match to remember Jacob Schilt and Matt Grimstone

New programme give first-team pathway at Worthing

Iran star joins Brighton for club record fee