Great Britain men’s road cycling coach Matthew Brammeier has described Chris Froome’s current level as being “a long way off” Olympic selection, effectively ending any hope the Israel StartUp Nation rider might have had to participate at one more Games in his career.
Brammeier told Cycling News."I recommend the team, I don’t select it but I can say that I think Chris is a long way off. He has said himself that he’s not there yet and he needs more time to get up to speed and to get to a level where he’s fighting for that spot.”
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Brammeier emphasised just what a difficult squad the GB men’s outfit is to break into.
"We’ve got four spots and it’s not an easy team to fight your way into. Unfortunately, it’s not looking great for Chris on my behalf anyway."
Brammeier may not choose the team himself, but his recommendations carry significant weight among the decision-makers.
The current long-list for Tokyo is as follows: Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas, Adam and Simon Yates, Tao Geoghegan Hart, James Knox, Hugh Carthy, Luke Rowe, Alex Dowsett, and Tom Pidcock.
Froome has two Olympic medals in his trophy case, having taken home bronze medals in the time trials at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Games. However, he has been a long way off the sort of form he was in during either of those years since returning from his long injury layoff post-Criterium du Dauphiné crash in 2019.
Froome has an absolute mountain to climb if he is going to make it to Tokyo. His principal goal this year is the Tour de France, but there are plenty of athletes looking at doing both events – so this alone is no barrier to his selection.
The real issue is time. The number of racing days in which to justify his selection is running out, with the final deadline set for the middle of next month (18 May).
It’s hard to imagine what possible results Froome could deliver to change Brammeier and the selection committee’s minds between now and then - particularly in light of his dismal time trial performance today in Tour of Romandie, where he placed 130th. Unless he produces another Landis-like mountain raid in the days to come, redolent of his 2018 Giro win, and storms the GC by 15 minutes, it’s hard to see him nudging in front of the Yates twins, Thomas, Geoghegan Hart and Hugh Carthy.
It was particularly telling that when Brammeier was quoted listing the riders he was “seriously considering” from the long-list, he mentioned every name but Froome’s, suggesting that possibly the four-time Tour champ's inclusion was more symbolic than serious in the first place.
Two of the riders in the four must take part in the time trial, which does open the door somewhat to Froome who has medalled in the Olympic TT before – although Alex Dowsett and Geraint Thomas are both riding considerably better than Froome at this moment in time and look more likely to be a factor across both road race and TT. If for some reason Tom Pidcock does not make the MTB team for GB, then Froome’s chances are completely blown – the form the young Yorkshireman is in at the moment, he is a ‘first name on the team sheet’ pick and would probably get a go in the TT ahead of Dowsett and Froome.
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