“He was showing that nothing will come between him and the Tour.”
Sports pro describing Chris Froome
The 2016 Tour de France raced into Paris after 20 days of tough, treacherous racing.
What a thrilling ride! Close to 200 elite cyclists — the best in the world — began the race and 175 finished. One cyclist out-pedaled and out-persevered them all: Chris Froome.
Our boy Chris is a tall and gangly; he looks like a paperclip rising a bike. His style is anything but graceful and he often seems robotic, surrounded by a wall of black — the members of his Sky team. This is his third Tour win — and this time around, he pulled out all the stops, proving that he’s a true champion. Driven by passion and grit, he overcame obstacle after obstacle with fierce purpose and calm focus. He’s so inspiring to me as a writer! He showed the kind of relentless, never-say-die attitude that I know I need to bring to the page to get published. Here’s what helped him win:
Calm intensity: Off the bike, Chris comes across as cool and courtly. On the bike, he seems calm but relentless. Whatever the Tour threw at him, he handled it with aplomb. And instead of sitting behind his team, he outran his competitors by being aggressive — by attacking on flat stages and dangerous descents. He went all out, not in a manic way, but with a calm intensity that showed everyone why he was the Tour leader. As one observer summed up his strategy, “Attack wildly and it pays off huge.”
Perseverance: When asked what ability had helped him out ride his rivals, without hesitation, Chris answered: “Perseverance and the will to win.” You could see this determination in his face — and his focus. At one point, he crashed and smashed his bike. He started running up a mountain toward the finish line, with no idea if he’d lost the whole race, but absolutely bound and determined to reach his goal. That’s a champion!
Preparation: After the race, Chris talked about the months and months of hard work he and his team put in to prep for the Tour, a grueling marathon event. Arthur Ashe once said, “One important key to success is self-confidence. And one key to self-confidence is preparation.” Chris and his team showed this in spades. When Chris fell on a slippery descent and broke his bike a second time, a teammate was quickly by his side, handing him his bike so he could ride on, a hand-off they must have practiced.
Gratitude: At every stage of the race, Chris gave a shout out to his team mates, thanking them for all their hard work in shepherding him to the finish line — making it clear that they were a huge factor in his success.
Calm intensity, perseverance, preparation, and gratitude — let’s bring these to the page as we all write on!