Carlton Kirby: Froome was the Daddy of this Tour and could end up as the greatest champion

Kirby: Froome was the Daddy of this Tour and could end up as the greatest champion

25/07/2016 at 14:23Updated 26/07/2016 at 10:08

Eurosport's voice of cycling Carlton Kirby believes Chris Froome could win another three Tours to overtake the record jointly held by five-times winners Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain. Here Carlton tells Desmond Kane why the Sky is the limit for the human dynamo after becoming the first man in 20 years to defend his yellow jersey.

The Merckx seal of approval

What did Chris Froome do to win his third Tour de France? Quite frankly, he did everything.

He descended like a complete nutcase, he sprinted with Peter Sagan in Montpellier on Stage 11. He got knocked off his bike and was forced to jog up a mountain on stage 12. He did everything, and finally the French public started to fall in love with him.

There were very few boos this year, and the speech he gave on the Champs Elysees on Sunday was just a triumph. He is a great British diplomat, on the bike he is an assassin and at the age of 31, he is also a new dad. He has been the daddy of this Tour.

It is a fantastic Hollywood story. The great Eddy Merckx, the man with the most Tour stage wins of 34, is saying he could be one of the greatest. If Merckx is saying that, that’s all you need to know.

He’s won three Tours, he might win three more on his way to being the greatest in France. You just don’t know. It comes down to luck. You have to have a smattering of luck.

He could have lost it in the motorcycle crash incident on Stage 12.

As a commentator, you are paid to comment and that naturally gets under the skin of riders occasionally because you often have to say it how you see it.

Video - Froome dedicates win to son, pays tribute to Nice victims


I’ve annoyed Chris in the past and whenever I’ve stepped out of line I’ll take the hit to apologise, but he is genuinely a difficult character to quantify.

He is family man now and is a very sensitive guy, but he’s also deeply aggressive at exactly the right time. And that is a masterful skill set of emotions to possess.

He uses pain, adrenaline and anger to the absolute zenith. He is already one of the greats. We’re now in the Froome era, and we don't yet know what his legacy will be.

This Tour will be remembered not for how everybody failed, but for how Froome triumphed.

Wiggins was knighted, will Froome become the first Duke of Cycling?

You never know how the world is going to pan out, but Froome has bounced back from so much adversity.

He was a very good rider for years unaware that he was carrying a viral illness from drinking contaminated water. It was almost like carrying a backpack of concrete around with him. As soon as that backpack was lifted, the concrete was lifted and suddenly you see the man’s full potential.

He is amazing, and all this rumour about potential doping has thankfully been put to one side because he’s shown people the numbers without giving away too much away of how capable he is.

Video - Chris Froome is daddy of them all.


There is a possibility that Froome could claim double gold at the Olympic Games of time trial and the road race. Those odds went from 200/1 before the Tour to around 33/1 now on him doing the double.

When you get somebody so all-powerful in a sport, it makes everybody else look inadequate. They weren’t: they were just nowhere near as impressive as Froome and Team Sky.

Sky had a battleplan to win the Tour within five years. They did it in their second year of existence with Bradley Wiggins, and have collected three more with Froome.

Bradley got knighted for his, but Froome has won three and now we are waiting to see what awards they give him.

Where do you stop? He might be elevated to a dukedom. Who knows?

Froome and Team Sky a match made in heaven

The big worry for future Tours is that no other teams will be able to match Team Sky.

It is not Sky's fault that they are so good, but other teams are looking jealously at them.

The Sky Team is an assembly of potential Grand Tour winners, who are all backing up Chris Froome.

He is extremely lucky to have that kind of immense firepower at his disposal. No other team can call upon that.

If you were to break up Team Sky, you would have potential Grand Tour winners within other teams, but at the moment they have collected them all together.

Video - Froome dishes out beers to Team Sky colleagues during race


The reason Sky didn’t get the best team award wasn’t because they weren’t the best team, they were burning themselves out to protect Chris Froome and were fading towards the end when Froome picked it up and did it for himself.

Critics of this year's Tour are talking Crêpe

Team Sky are head and shoulders above everybody else.

For those who are claiming Team Sky and Froome have somehow made the Tour boring is a case of sour grapes.

This would be hailed as the greatest Tour in history by the French media if this was a French team.

What do people want? The Tour defined on the final day of every single Tour? It has never happened in the past.

And you forget some of the boring days of old that are suddenly held up somehow as being glory days.

Video - Froome crosses finish line with a smile to all but confirm third Tour title


The Team Sky director Sir Dave Brailsford said exactly the same thing. When you look back at this Tour in retrospect, that’s when you appreciate what this tour has given to you. When you are in the middle of it, it is a bit of a fog.

Large dollops of drama splattered all over Le Tour

The drama that this tour produced was just amazing. If you drift away from Froome for a moment, you had Mark Cavendish approaching Eddy Merckx's all-time record for stage wins. He is up to 30 after winning four stages. A glorious Tour for the greatest sprinter we've seen.

Video - Chris Froome running up hill


He had too many second places, and we wondered if he would win a Tour stage and suddenly he wins three. And he almost won on the Champs Elysees. That is real drama.

You’ve got Adam Yates, a young man with a massive future, who has potentially got Team Sky written all over him after becoming the first British winner of the white jersey for best young rider.

Yates finished fourth overall, and nearly made the GC podium. He came from nowhere for a lot of people, but we’ve all known about him and his brother Simon for a while - that’s another bombshell.

Julian Alaphilippe burst into the consciousness of everybody for France, and nearly took the yellow jersey in Cherbourg.

He just missed out due to a lack of experience by attacking Sagan. If he had sat in, he would have won that day and France would not had had to wait until Stage 19 to win one courtesy of Romain Bardet.

It was also nail-biting stuff for the old school – Spain, France and Italy. Never in the history of all Grand Tours had any of them failed to win a stage.

Yet we reached Stage 19, and it was on the cards before Bardet won for France and Jon Izaguirre won one for Spain on Stage 20 so that little bit of nerve was put to one side.

Video - Stage six finish: Cavendish edges Kittel again in thrilling finale


Nairo Quintana (Movistar) thought about pulling out early on, but gradually found his form. He just couldn't live with Froome.

Sam Bennnett finished in the top 10 on the final day in Paris after fighting against pain and adversity to come from last place after crashing on the first day.

You had the drama of Marcel Kittel, who was supposed to be a certainty for several stages. He managed to scrape one in Limoges.

He took a massive hump with Cavendish accusing him of obstructing because he wasn’t good enough on Stage 14. Then had triple bike failure on the final stage.

Honestly, if you put all this IN a movie script, people would call this a drama.

To suggest it is boring, is absolute rubbish.

Carlton Kirby in Paris on Twitter @carltonkirby