Chris Froome: I feel British, even if others don't think I am
Chris Froome has spoken of his national pride and how, despite growing up in Africa, he has always felt British.
The Team Sky rider, who completed a historic double after winning the Tour de France – for the fourth time – and La Vuelta this year, insists that winning those titles was not just a personal achievement, but one for his country as well.
Despite his incredible feats, Froome is still only second favourite – behind Anthony Joshua – to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
Much has been made of his childhood, which was spent largely in Kenya, before Froome attended boarding school, and later university, in Johannesburg. And, although his parents are British, Froome then represented Kenya in the early part of his cycling career.
So the 32-year-old can understand the disconnect with the public to a certain extent.
“I think a lot of people do battle to relate to me in that [nationality] sense, certainly back home in Britain,” he adds.
One thing he does dispute, however, are claims by former British rider David Millar that he only switched allegiance to further his career.
“I didn’t swap so much for my career,” Froome says.
" When I represented Kenya, when I was younger, that was when I felt I was cheating the system, or doing something not quite kosher. I was representing a country and maybe taking a place of someone, shall we say, more bona fide Kenyan."
“As soon as I made the switch [to riding for Britain] I felt I was doing things properly, the way they should have been from the start. Growing up in Kenya, the British system felt so far away from me so I can understand why it didn’t start that way. But they wanted me and I felt British, so it made sense.”
Indeed, even in Africa, Froome relates much of the Britishness felt in his family.
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“My whole family is British and we had very British values growing up,” he adds. “Christmas was a big roast, Yorkshire puddings, our gran would cook up a storm.
“They were more colonial times for the Brits in east Africa. We were thousands of miles away but there was a very British way of doing things.
" I have never lived in Britain so, if people don’t feel I am British, that’s their opinion, fine. "
"But I also know how I feel. I wouldn’t look at my family for one second and think it anything other than British.”