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KeithJamesMc

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Dave Walsh - The Climb
« on: June 05, 2014, 21:22 »
A good book, which documents the rise of Froome’s hubris and puts in context his seeming inability to follow team orders…

You don’t become the top of the food chain in the African savannah without ruffling (or eating) a few feathers and this book is an interesting account of the journey of How one of the unlikeliest candidates for Top of the Food Chain in Cycling  rose to the top.

Comicbook superheroes tend not to have traditional upbringings and neither does Froome. First he was an expat born in Kenya to English parents who divorced while he was in school putting the Froome-clan in a little financial difficulty – forcing a substitution of the best private schools in Kenya for South Africa.

The matriarchal Froome appears to be the driving force behind Froome’s ambitions – “Do whatever you want you like?” and a slightly more strange view on “rules” – with Mum I don’t remember ever being told “You can’t do that’ or ‘These are the rules’ She didn’t believe that rules existed merely to be followed. ‘Do it if you want to’ she’d say ‘and you can find out for yourself what it’s like, what the cost is’. Froome translates ‘Obeying rules just because they are rules isn’t the same as having your own moral compass. Mum knew that character is what you do when nobody is watching’. So there we have it “Cheating is not an option for Froome, because that would be a betrayal of his Mum’

Froome also is particular to his mentor David Kinjah, who is a supported Froome in his education as an aspiring teenage biker. Another big slap on the back to Robbie Nilsen who was one of Froome’s early coaches and Froome claims in just as innovation as Team Sky Coaching guru, Tim Kerriston.

Basically, there is the theme: anyone who supported him before he was world famous (or scarified something for Froome) get top billing (Mum, Kinjah, Nilsen, Cound, Porte and Bobby Julich are noteables. People who didn’t believe in him (or still don’t) are given the finger including (Brailsford, Yates, Wiggins and the Kenyan Cycling Federation are notables here). Whether this will develop into the pathological behaviour of an Armstrong has yet to be seen.

Froome signed his first “pro” contact with Team Minolta for €300/month. He was also on the UCI development programme in Aigle. Froome is the first to admit that his bike handling skills were fairly rudimentary at that stage and he crashed often and people avoided him in the peloton because of both his reputation and strange style. He also had a lucky break with one of friends told me to avoid Luca Scinto who wanted to sign him, because he was “controversial” character. Rod Ellingworth also encouraged Froome “Listen you’ve got talent and you’re heading in the right direction. Keep it up”

Next up was an introduction to Barloworld by Robbie Hunter and signing for €22,500/annum for the 2008 season with a 1-year contract which was less than UCI rule of minimum 2-year contracts for neo-pro’s. The book skips to Froome’s first entanglement with the commissaire’s a DQ in a cobbled race for racing on a parallel bike path. After all – why follow the rules if there is an easier path?

Froome was flying and training alone (with old programmes from Ronnie Nilsen). Another hated cobbled race – Paris Roubaix and this time Froome crashes into the back of a commissaries’ car with another spectacular piece of poor riding, before both him and Impey finally space in the Broom Wagon. A terrible week in the Ardennes followed. Robbie Hunter gives Froome a little advice about racing in Northern Europe “There is no secret. You have to fight. You’re not in flipping Kansas now, Dorithy. You have to fight.” Froome was slowly learning the rules of the peloton. He also swapped his Kenyan licence for a British one. No passion nothing – just a better run federation with better prospects. Froome surprised even himself with his selection for the Tour that year, unfortunately before his mum who died of cancer had a chance to watch him. Foome admits he was completely out of his depth. Froome seemed pretty happy with his performance in time trial, 33r. On the first mountain stage and Froome was briefly in the lead until Riccardo Ricco went flying past – Froome thought what a talent ;) The next day, Froome was broken by Piepoli and finished far back. Froome explains his disbelief like Dunas would be doping and put the team at risk. The next day, two of Froome’s teammates crashed and withdrew with reporters asking if it all too convenient given the doping of the previous day. On Froome’s first trip up Alpe D’Huez, he was about to make a huge mistake of not eating enough when Jens Voigt reminded him to eat. Finishing 31st on that stage wasn’t great Froome but was an indication that he deserved to be there. All his DS’es encouraged him “You just need time and experience”

Going home in the 2008/9 off-season (Froome had been given a pay rise to €30k despite the drugs bust and the sponsr saying just one more year ie “A deam man walking team”) one of his friends asked him about doping in the peloton and whether the dark side had a gravitational pull. Froome answered with his suspicions about Pfannberger who would later get his 2nd positive for Katusha in 2009. Froome was very encouraged that he could achieve results amongst dopes, but he was angry and trained harder.

Biological passports were introduced for 2009 and Froome was amazed that he got tested whilst out dining with a girlfriend, but he was happy with price to pay for proving that he was clean. Froome had a bit of a row with Corti about his racing strategy (or lack of it) at the start of the year. Froome also met a Scottish vegen who advised him on the benefits of carrying around sprouting vegetables in his suitcase as a great source of amino acids. Froome despite warnings from Corti kept up his practice and then got ill on fermented Quinoa.

Froome was ill and had a poor giro, his race weight was 71kilos compared to 66 now. On stage 14, both him and Gerrans had a chance but the mechanics ignored Froome’s gearing request. Therefore, he was overgeared and was zigzagging up the climb. The team car also broke down on the climb. Someone in the press put the photo’s side by side entitled “Hill 2 Barloworld 0” – which didn’t please the sponsor. Froome competed in UK Championships in Wales in June, Wiggins and Froome were on the final climb together, Wiggins didn’t help and both were eventually caught. Froome knew from April that he’s be racing for Sky in 2010 on €100k/annum – quite a jump for zero results.

In the World Championships, the GB mechanics took the mickey about the poor state of his bike and he finished 18th in tt which wasn’t that good, but he beat wiggo who had a mechanical.

At the start of 2010, Rod Ellingworth spelt out very clearly what Froome was doing wrong, especially on the tactical and organisational front, and Froome realised that he needed to improve of he was toast. Basically all of Froome results in 2010 were rubbish.  In this section of the book, there is nothing special, but Froome explained his annoyance with Greg Henderson. The stuff about Henderson descends into petty nastiness when he was let go despite being Sky’s most successful rider (if only he could have played guitar) It also explains how he was DQ’ed for holding onto a police car and Froome’s disappointment with the press for asking him questions about it “in a show trial manner”. Froome also questions Sky’s approach in that year especially doubling up the bet with Wiggo in the Tour when he had done so poorly in the Giro. Froome also blames his bad knee problems on a poor bike fiting by sky mechanics which he spotted himself and fixed. Not only was his knee better, but it solved the problem of saddle sores.

In 2011 by the time of the Tour of Poland, Froome appeared to know he was going to be sacked. In fact, it seemed like the only bonus was that he was now being coached by Julich who seemed to give him a lot more TLC than Ellingworth. Julich was impressed by his SRM data, but Froome could never repeat them in races. It is also a section where Froome hints that wasn’t performing for €100k and he knew that Sky would just swap him out for a model that would perform. “Everybody are equal, but some are more equal than others”. The other big change was of course the diagnosis of biharzia. Doctors in Europe has assumed that Froome has glandular fever or mononucleosis. Julich was impressed with Froome, but Ellingworth dubbed it “the sorrowful mystery of Chris Froome”. Froome went to ToC and had a poor race, which was down to bad Sky tactics in the bad weather which gave him an infection.

Then finally some luck for Froomey – Lars Petter Nordhaug was injured and Froome was in the Vuelta team but only by the skin of his teeth. Froome wasn’t even in the team for climbing duties – it was “Xabier, Morris and Froome will do their best to survive as long as possible and will fetch bottles etc” Wiggins and Froome roomed together and hardly spoke.

The 1st stage a team trail was a disaster – though no fault of Froome’s.

2nd Stage involved climbing and Froome did well, helping the team out.

Stage 3: more climbing and more help from Froome

Stage 4: 23km of climbing up Sierra Nevada. Again help from Froome – he was getting excited now.

Stage 8: Crash Froome.

Stage 9: Froomey finally matched his training numbers and pushed Wiggins back into the contenders. Steven de Jongh “ Where did that come from, Froomester? Great ride”

Stage 10: The ITT. Despite Julich being a TT genius, Froome had told him at the start of Vuelta about changes he wanted made to his position to make him both more aerodynamic and speedier. It worked!!! Froome did a brilliant TT and took the red jersey as leader of the Vuelta.
Rest Day: “all that potential wasn’t counterfeit. My belief that I was suited in ptemperament and genetics to being a GT rider seemed to be spot on”. Froome awoke with a rash and went to see Geert Leinders, the doc. Leinders gave him cream. Froome was sniffling In the morning and he was moved out of Brad’s room, just as a precaution. Seemingly Wiggins only contribution to team spirit is his impressions. Shane Sutton had a word with Froome and told him not to worry about the contract and his value was going up. Froome’s agent gets his phone out and shows him the Brailsford texts “What has Froome done? – nothing” Froome was fuming – he had lived like a puritan and trained like a martyr. Froome’s agent said “Keep up there on GC, UCI points mean higher wages”

Stage 12: Froome agent told the press he had 12 expressions of interest from other teams. However, Sky hadn’t said anything. As Stephen de Jong said the climbing order in the team meeting, Froome thought about reversing the final order – Brad then Froomey”. A couple of riders at the start of the stage said how his read jersey was spreading hope and pride among the rank and file. Lots of attacks on the final climb and the SkyTrain fell apart leaving Froome to defend for the last 10km. Lots of attacks, then Carlos Sastre (a teammate of Cobo’s) helped Froome out. Froome went to Carlos to thank him “De nada” . Wiggins took the red and Froome was now domestique.

Stage 14: On the final climb, Froome had dropped everyone but Wiggins, Mollema, Cobo and Menchov. Wiggins was continually saying to Froome to slow down because he was on his limit.

Stage 15: Angliru – 1km into the 12.3km climb and it was froome and wiggins alone again in the skytrain. Cobo attacked and froome said to himself “Stay clam. Don’t bridge. Just keep the even pace for brad”. Both of them battled up the climb in the wrong gears (again) Wiggins cracked and Froome went past chasing after Cobo. At the finish line Wiggins said to Froome “Well done, you go for it now”

Stage 16: Nothing much happening. Cobo still with 22s lead.

Stage 17: Pena Cabarga. Mountain clost to Cobo’s home with all his bison fans on the climb. 5km to go – Dan Martin attacked (too early). Then Van den Broek attacked leaving Froome, Cobo, Nieve and Brad with 2km to go. The crazy Belgian attacked again, froome went with him. Cobo boxed Froome in, but Froome escaped and put in his “final” effort. Cobo got back but Froome outsprinted him to the line. Everything on the contract front would be ok now, froome was a GT stage winner. Cobo 13s ahead on GT.

Cobo stuck to Froome’s whell for the remaining stages and even bonus seconds were impossible to come by. Cobo 1. Froome 2. Wiggins 3. But at the final presentation wiggins stood on the runner-up leaving froome below him

Froome’s performance was valued even more than normal within the sport as it wasn’t deemed suspicious. The managers of rival teams believe Sky to be clean.

Froome thought that Brailsford expected hgim to wilt in the final week and then he could Froome for less. Brailsford gave Alex a new offer, but Alex was not impressed and told Froome not to be impressed either.

Froome meet up with Riis in a local Madrid disco. The club was underground, which might not have been a bad place given Bjarne’s shady past. “Alberto would love to have you on the team. If you came to us you could be Alberto’s last man in the mountains for the Tour de France. Then you could choose the Giro or Vuelta for yourself” But, Froome thought “Why would I leave Sky because of the Brad situation to go and ride for Contador in the Tour?” Also back in Monaco, Richie Porte advised against going to Saxo. . Riis also had a stab at Wiggins to Froome saying he had been holding Froome back. Unzue also went to Froome’s agent saying he would be making an offer. Martinelli and Astana made an offer of double what Sky were offering and with Vino leaving they were looking for a new leader. Garmin was also interested but had blown their 2012 budget. They solved it by loading all the money in years 2 and 3 with Vaughters saying the whole team would be built around Froome. Astana then significantly upped their bid. Froome sent Brailsford a text where he said he would have to match the offer plus guarantee that Froome would be given a chance to win the TdF. It was a take it or leave it offer / 48 hours.

It appears that Froome thought as follows:
1.   Astana – with the Kazah money he could probably Julich on board plus some riders.
2.   Garmin – English speaking and the team would be behind him 100%
3.   Saxo – Contador had become the Lance Armstrong of the new era, under the clenb cloud and Riis dodgy past threatened to bring Froome under a doping cloud.

Bobby Julich didn’t think the money on Froome would be wise – better to invest in better coaches.

What followed was lots negotiation about the GC clause, but Froome ultimately signed the contract.

Straight after the World’s, Wiggins went to the press and said he going for the Tour the next year, which peeed the Froome camp off as it wasn’t what they agreed. Froome thought Wiggins knew about the Froome deal and was putting his stake in the ground early. Froome was now thinking of conspiracy – had Sky just kept him to prevent him going to another team and betting Wiggins? Froome thinks he was too passive then and should have hammered it out with Brailsford.
“Blessed are the meek for they shall continue to ride for Brad”

Tdf2013 section to follow
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  • « Last Edit: June 12, 2014, 23:27 by Dim, Reason: For Frontpage »

    Carlo Algatrensig

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    Thanks for reading this and giving us a synopsis. Don't think i could drag myself to buy it and so would have to wait till the local library got it in which to be honest I hope they never will.
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  • AG

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    great summary Keith

    I dont want to pay the money for the book ,... so this is good
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  • just some guy

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    I look forward to the chapter when Froome solves the economy and creates world peace.

    Lucky he spots the bike set up issue, where would we be today.

    loved the title of the thread :D
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  • Of course, if this turns out someday to be the industry standard integrated handlebar-computer-braking solution then I'll eat my kevlar-reinforced aerodynamic hat.

    Larri Nov 12, 2014

    KeithJamesMc

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    I look forward to the chapter when Froome solves the economy and creates world peace.


    I think this will be in episode 2 of his autobiography and he'll do it together with Cound, Porte and perhaps Kinjah.
    The scene is already with many of his early dates with Cound in Nelson Mandela square.

    The minimum I expect is a Nobel Peace Prize.
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  • Flo

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    From the snippets I've read it almost seems like Froome has some sort of personal feud with Contador. Disgusting.
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  • RIP Keith

    cj2002

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    Don't take it personally (on Bertie's behalf), Flo... it reads like the Dawg has a personal feud with everyone.
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  • He shook his head sadly and told me that endemic drug use had compelled him to give up a promising career. "Even one small local race, prize was a salami, and I see doping!" - Tim Moore: Gironimo (Riding the Very Terrible 1914 Tour of Italy)

    KeithJamesMc

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    From the snippets I've read it almost seems like Froome has some sort of personal feud with Contador. Disgusting.
    I think he respects Contador, but seeing he is #1 challenger to his throne... he has to beat him ;)
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  • cj2002

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    RiderGrand Tour WinsGrand Tour Stage Wins
    Alberto Contador5 (7)6
    Chris Froome14

    Tell me again, whose throne?
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  • Flo

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    I think he respects Contador, but seeing he is #1 challenger to his throne... he has to beat him ;)

    He doesn't come across as respectful at all to me, but hey, if he feels he needs to belittle Contador to beat him, so be it.
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  • Capt_Cavman

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    RiderGrand Tour WinsGrand Tour Stage Wins
    Alberto Contador5 (7)6
    Chris Froome14

    Tell me again, whose throne?
    Well if we're going to dig up the past, Merckx'.
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  • Flo

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    Well if we're going to dig up the past, Merckx'.

    We are comparing Froome and Contador. ;)
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  • cj2002

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    Well if we're going to dig up the past, Merckx'.

    A good point, well made.

    I'd counterargue that Merckx abdicated his throne when he retired.  ;)

    Getting way off track, of course, but if you look at Wiki's list of Grand Tour winners, Contador is - by a long way - the most successful, currently active cyclist. I'd say that makes it his throne. His heirs apparent - being the only two riders currently riding with two wins - are Nibali and (lol) Ivan Basso...

    Froome - with one win - is currently in last place.

    LAST, I TELL YOU, LAST!!!
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  • KeithJamesMc

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    A good point, well made.

    I'd counterargue that Merckx abdicated his throne when he retired.  ;)

    Getting way off track, of course, but if you look at Wiki's list of Grand Tour winners, Contador is - by a long way - the most successful, currently active cyclist. I'd say that makes it his throne. His heirs apparent - being the only two riders currently riding with two wins - are Nibali and (lol) Ivan Basso...

    Froome - with one win - is currently in last place.

    LAST, I TELL YOU, LAST!!!

    Maybe, but in Froome's book Contador is a doper and as bad as Armstrong ;)

    So it is: Froome 1 Contador 0
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  • Gotland

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    A good book, which documents the rise of Froome’s hubris and puts in context his seeming inability to follow team orders…



    Thanks Keith! Great summary.  I'm looking forward to read the next part  :cool
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  • "Emma is Queen of consistency" Peloton Watch

    Flo

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    Maybe, but in Froome's book Contador is a doper and as bad as Armstrong ;)

    Does he write stuff about that too?

    Quote
    So it is: Froome 1 Contador 0

    Let's not twist the facts here mate ;) ;)

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  • cj2002

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    Fighting talk from Keith - I'm not going to bite...  :-x
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  • Capt_Cavman

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    Maybe, but in Froome's book Contador is a doper and as bad as Armstrong ;)

    So it's not all just pure fantasy then.




    I bit.
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  • Flo

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    So it's not all just pure fantasy then.




    I bit.

    careful now capt ;)
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  • KeithJamesMc

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    Part II - The tour de France

    Tour de France

    In 2012, Froome enters Belgium in the form of his life – riding for the best team in the best form of his life, sure he can compete, but unsure whether the team will allow him to compete. Wiggins is the big Kahuna and team sky don’t have a position for deputy big Kahuna. Sean yates has drawn up the battle plan, it is a good plan. But there is no Plan B featuring Froome. Froome knows that Wiggins deserves leadership (wining everything in the run-up compared to a meagre 4th in the dauphine for Froome) and he will ride for him, but there will be opportunities…

    Froome needs a good start in the flat prologue. Froome starts off with 520W which is good but not crazy and he is soon up to his max heartrate of 170 (which is low). Froome is wasted at the end, which is strange given the effort but the soigneur points to the cotton wool still in his nose which has prevented approx. 30% of his breathing. Nevertheless 16s down on Cancellara is not bad. The team mates (especially Eisel) rib him about his mistake.

    Froome in the winter of 2011 had accepted an all-expenses paid trip to Langkawi (for promo stuff not riding) during this his rash from the Vuelta had got worse. He had been using Nivea as he was scared of a positive test. In South Africa he went to see a skin specialist who prescribed hydrocortisone creams for what was assumed to be eczema. Froome was upset as he had a disfigured face and wanted to start dating Michelle Cound. They spoke about the skin rash which wasn’t getting any better and Michelle had trawled the internet and seen people with similar looking phonto’s and discovered it wasn’t eczema but hives and treatable with antihistamine’s. Suddenly the problem was under control.
     
    Julich was checking up on Froome more and more frequently – not a problem for Froome as he was more determined now with his big salary. 1st race was the Tour of Algarve which Froome couldn’t finish and he felt terrible not being able to support his mate Porte. Bobby told Froome that Sean Yates was ribbing him about the exit “Ah-ha, what is wrong with your boy, I told you he’d take the money and that would be it”. The team wouldn’t let Froome skip Paris-Nice even though his brother was getting married. A week before Paris-Nice on a training ride, Froome was ill and Julich pulled him out of the race. On the final day of Paris-Nice Froome was meant to meet up with the team after a training ride, but Crash Froome reappeared and he drove into a pensioner on the border with Monaco. Everything worked out ok, but Froome was worried about it for a while.
     
    Froome went to Kenya for the wedding and meet up with the bilharzia doctor. The prognosis was that the level had gone down, but the bilharzia was still in the Froome body and he needed his 3rd course of treatment. Plus the magic doctor checked him over and found another common African disease, Typhoid. Back in Europe riding the Criterium International, Froome was worried because clearly both Porte and Rogers were stronger than him. Romandie was better, but finally at the Dauphine and in the Alpine training after, Froome was back to his strongest.

    Stage 1 – Froome was upset as only Brad and Cav were protected riders. Sure enough he had a puncture, but fortunately Porte spotted it and dropped back to help. Froome lost 1m30s on the stage and it just the proved to Froome that all the Brailsford talk about him being a GC races was just that – talk. Nobody apart from Richie noticed how disappointed he was.

    Stage 7 – Planche des Belles Filles
    Froome was excited and had different plans to Yates. Everything was going to plan until Froome old “mate” forced his way onto the SkyTrain, which temporarily put Froome out of position, but Froome realised now why the rest of the team didn’t like Henderson. Froome’s job was to take Wiggins to the last kilo, but Froome had added a little extra to it given the last 200m straight was pretty steep and not suited to Wiggins. Froome put in a good effort and dropped everyone bar Evans, Nibali and Taaramae. Froome won the sprint to the line and put time into everyone. Wiggins annoyed Froome with his comments post-race “A fantanstic day for the team. Chris winning the stage; I’m in the Yellow. Now he has his stage win, he’s going to be an integral part of helping me to win the Tour” – Froome was now up to 9th still 1m30s behind.

    The team was getting a lot of questions about Leinders which was affected the team mode – Wiggins wasn’t happy, neither was Cav nor Froome. Cav was passing notes to Froome on the bus – indicating that he should go for it.

    Stage 9 – ITT

    Froome was 2nd and Wiggins was 1st. The work of Julich and Kerriston was paying off (although Froome always rode to Nilson’s plans) The lost of time to the puncture was really bugging Froome now as it was easily avoidable. The team hadn’t treated Froome the way they promised and acknowledge that he could win the race. Froome was up to 3rd, but Froome was worried that if Wiggins popped in the mountains, it would be difficult to get the puncture time back.
     
    Stage 11 – Mountains
    Plan was to scorch the earth again and for Wiggins to build more time in his leaders buffer. Froome suggested he might be able to attack near the top after sheparding Wiggins safely to get back some of the 1m 25s . Evans surprised everyone with his attack from 60km out which Sky thought was a suicide mission. 12km from the top of final, Nibali made a move – everyone was spent and it was up to Froome to bridge the gap. Nibali was brought back with 10km, but he attacked again. Froome started grandstanding pretending to Evans and Schleck that he was spent. Evans and Schleck looked completely cooked to Froome. Froome pulled Nibali back again and then decided to attack. Yates and Wiggins were not happy and Froome thought Wiggins was faking it a bit. Cycling History was littered with cases like this and in 1987 Roche attacking Visconti was probably the best example. Over time, people have forgetten Roche went against team orders, rembering only that he won the race. Pinot won the sprint for the line and Froome only gained a couple of seconds, when he could have gained much, much more.

    The repercussions

    Froome knew he was in for a bollicking and so it turned out. All the management was upset with Froome and were pacifying Wiggins. Froome tried to fight his corner, but the bosses were adamant – ride for Wiggins. Froome would lie await at night thinking about what to do – exchanging texts with Cound. At breakfast, despite the yearing for Coffee, Froome wouldn’t allow it as he doesn’t think it healthy to have stimulants for breakfast which dehydrates you and creates acidity in your stomach. The flat days – they were winning the tour, but joylessly.
     
    On the 2nd rest day, Froome had his family with him. Brailsford despite being annoyed with Froome also agreed a bonus for Froome for finishing 2nd. Wiggins said to Froome “Listen, Froomey, don’t worry about this, your time will come, and we’ll be right back here next year and we’ll be riding for you”. Froome appreciated these words and they weren’t typical of Wiggins. Froome knew he had to suck it up, but at least the team have shown that it was his time next. A better place.
    Next day, business as usual – Cav crashed, Porte crashed. Nibali attacked, Froome and Wiggins chased him down – nothing for the media to chat about.

    Stage 17

    Froome was feeling excellent and he though his legs were like the devil on his shoulders. Froome had tried to get Yates to agree to him attacking which was conditional on Wiggins agreeing, but the contract wasn’t in writing ;)

    Valverde attacked and had got about a minute. Froome tried to get permission from Wiggins to attack on the final climb, but Wiggins said it was pointless as Valverde was too far ahead. So, Froome just settled in pushing Nibali and making sure Wiggins was on his wheel. Froome was just trying to push Wiggins into having a little panache whilst winning the tour.

    Journalists at the finish were asking “What are you doing? You could be winning this race.” Afterward, teammates too the mickey about Cound’s tweet “Damn it, gooooo’. Froome just gave the party line to the press.

    On to the Olympics which was strange as they weren’t in the village, but in a 5-star hotel with a golf course. But at least Froomey was with Cound again. They lost the road race and Froome was upset by a lot of the comments on social media which implied he didn’t try and was just saving his legs for the Time Trial. Froome insists that he went harder on that day than in any day on the Tour.
     
    There is a bit in the autobio about Froome justifying leaving Kenyan Federation and going against his Mum’s wish. But he agree it with Kinjah beforehand and Froome’s opinion was “I love Kenya, but sometimes the best you can do for someone you love is to leave them and let them grow”.

    Froome thought he’d be riding for 4th in the TT despite the good performances in the Tour. Froome was on the standard team TT bike, Wiggins was on a custom bike. They didn’t speak and did their own thing. Froome thought it strange that Wiggins never thanked him for his efforts on the Tour. Froome hovered between 400W and 440W during the whole race and was surprised that he was beating Cancellara and so close to Martin. The Olympic podium felt much better than the Tour podium.
    Vuelta

    3 weeks in the Spanish heat with no preparation and no recces of the stages, but froome was getting his chance of being a GT leader. Froome knew he was underprepared and the three Spaniards – Contador, Rodriguez and Valverde basically gave him a good kicking. Julich thought Froome’s performance in the Vuelta was better than the one in the Tour. Froome went to the World Championships, but had nothing left in his legs.

    Back in the UK, Froome didn’t receive an invite to the Wiggins Yellow Ball and was left out of an “optional bonus payment” from Wiggins to most of riders as a token of his appreciation. Small things, but Froome thought Wiggins was brooding about him. The team debrief was not celebratory, but instead the atmosphere was turned by the undercurrent of the upcoming purge for zero-tolerance. Julich admitted to Froome that he had taken EPO and part of the logic for the confession was that he didn’t want Froome or Porte to be dragged into it. Julich knew that confessing would bring the end of his career. An odd end to a big year for Sky, but a disappointing one for Froome.


    2014
    Team Sky training camp in Tenerife. Dinner Times. Kosta isn’t helping.

    Kosta doesn’t know it but I am watching him, studying him like a nature documentary. This is because Kosta doesn’t have a digestive system, he has a full-blown industrial plant, which extracts what it wants from a river of food and incinerates the rest. I know this and hate him for it. He eats more than the rest of us combined but still has the lowest body fat- and he thinks that we are crazy with our suffering and our abstinence.

    Froome changes Kerrison’s tranining plans, making them harder which he doesn’t think Kerrison minds, but he always tells Froome to stick with the plan, but Froome changes it regardless making it harder. Froome likes to think about his competitors during training, especially Contador and Nibali. Froome and Porte don’t like recovery periods – so they turn off their power meters so that the coaches do know the full extent of their training. Froome writes an ode to Madone, especially that he is now the record holder and it is his mountain not Pantani’s or Armstrong’s. Now it is time to walk the walk.

    Onto Oman. Kerriston wanted Froome to have some early results to establish that he was the leader, he was pushing at an open door.

    In Oman, team Sky won but the it was more interesting than the bland parcours would suggest. Everything was slow until the Green Mountain (and even on the run-up to the mountain) Froome thought the stage was setup for Contador, who is “maybe” more explosive than Froome. Saxo lined it up and made it hard in the first kilo. Froome was dropped but Porte went back and help him get back on. In a tactical climb with Nibali and Contador attacking, but Froome and Rodriguez following – cat and mouse stuff. Froome was trying to bluff, but Contador and Nibali weren’t buying it. With a kilo to go Rodriguez attracked. Froome was shocked at the 500m to go sign as he thought there was longer to go. But he attacked, he didn’t catch Rodriguez but put 30s into Contador and Nibali in 500m.
     
    Wiggins was also in the race and wasn’t pulling his weight. The atmosphere was very tense and the DS Nico Portal appeared as if he walking on eggshells. Froome said to Kennaugh “Does this feel different to oyu?”. Kennaugh “I thought it was just me. I’m glad you said something. I’m afraid to open my mouth”. It felt very unhealthy with everybody on edge; like a week working at a job poisoned by office politics.”

    The following stage took them all by surprise – three smallish climbs. On the first climb, Dombrowski and Knees set a decent pace. On the second climb, Wiggins appeared then pulled away. Froome though he wasn’t interested. “if you riding to battle through early morning mists, Wiggins was a man to have by your side. Because after lunch, he just might not be bothered”

    Contador starting attacking and Froome just managed to hold him off with the help of Porte. On a crucial part of the 3rd climb, Froome was on his limit and Contador was aiming for drafting behind a motorcycle. Rodriguez came to Froome’s help. Froome like Rodriguez. The leson for Froome was “if you give Contador 10cm he would take 10m”. Froome won the sprint, but only by luckily pushing Contador into the wind.

    On the final criterium stage, Wiggins did some impressive pulls which lead Froome to believe that he was racing the race as part of his own training plan rather than for the team”. “Maybe we’re not created to appear in the same story”

    Off to Tirreno-Adriatco which Cound wanted Froome to win as she fancied the trophy. Everything was going hunky-dory on the climbs, Uran and Henao were supporting well setting a fast tempo. Tim had developed a still for Wiggins but Froome had refined it. Set a high tempo and let the other teams waste energy by attacking, then in the final kilometre only Froome would be able to attack of the tempo. Nibali was grumbling about the Sky style of riding.

    On the penultimate day, the weather was bad and the team raced poorly tactically. Although Froome was in great form, he couldn’t match Nibali and Sagan on the final steep climb – again the problem was gearing.

    The final TT was too short for Froome to catch Nibali. He was jutted, but the team still loved him.

    The best thing about the race was that Nibali thought Froome cared about being called a SRM slave.

    In the Criterium International, Froome and Porte again did their 1-2 tagteam act.

    Froome went to Tenerife and discarded Porte for a new toy – a GoPro camera which he used to film the mountain team trial races they were doing. After Tenerife and the pain inflicted by Kerrison they were always a kilo or two lighter generating more power.

    LBL was typically sh*te – but this time it was due to punctures than an allergy to the classics.

    Romandie was smooth no drama no crises.

    Froome was thinking about his team for the TdF “Kennaugh had lost weight and was looking good, Thomas and Stannard were needed because of their tactical abilities. Lopez was solid. EBH was certain to be in the team. Kosta and Knees – too early to tell as they had ridden the giro. Kiryenka would be good, but he already had had a tough season. Froome was unsure about Wiggins, because despite the engine, he didn’t think they could work together. When Froome got back to Monaco, his email was on fire. Brad had done an interview saying he was going to do the Giro/Tour double – coming in a joint leader and then they would battle it out for leadership. Froome sent a message to Brailsford “This is not we agreed… or is Brad now bigger than the team?”. Dave assured Froome that it wasn’t a conspiracy and that Wiggins was only trying to save face – people didn’t understand why he wasn’t defending his crown”. On 30th April, Brailsford issued a statement that Froome would be leading the team. Phew- bomb defused.

    In the boredom of Temerife with limited internet – they were stuck watching old TV series box sets – the popular one was Dexter which was unfortunate as the serial killer bore an uncanny resemblance to Kerrison.

    Tour de Dauphine.

    Wiggins was out injured. The team hadn’t dodged a bullet; they had ducked a cannonball. The media would have been in a frenzy in the 1st week – Wiggins v Froome. The gangly Kenyan against the loveably gruff mod geezer. This was tough was Wiggins, but accordingly to Froome – life goes on.
    The race itself seemed pretty boring. Contador attacked on a climb but without his normal power and the SkyTrain was very well drilled. Then Porte and Froome applied the screw in the TT – finishing 1-2 again. They were off to the Tdf as a team. Their team. Froome’s team.

    Tdf 2013

    Corsica

    “Paraphasing the golfers – we sprint for show and we climb for dough”. Corsisa was mainly for show. A little drama with Crash Froome reappearing before the tour good underway. Corsisa also involved Thomas crashing and breaking his pelvis. – “If he was a racehorse, we would have put him down. He was Welsh though. He was surviving that too”

    Team Time Trail

    Thomas was the worry – they left him on the back and if he could contribute it would be a bonus. Thomas managed to do a turn and Sky didn’t fall apart, but were 3s off Greenedge.

    Stage 5: Dull flat stages were a torture mentally just following wheels. EBH got 2nd to Cav in the sprint. Froome admits that he probably could do better with a little support, but they were in France for the climbing.

    Stage 6: Boring, but ended on a high as Gerrans showed the whole about teammanship – handing the yellow jersey off to Impey which was a great day for South Africa. As Froome congratulated him “HahHaHa, I’ve got it before you”

    Stage 7: Cannondale made it hard to drop the sprinter on the final short climb. Very impressive. Frustating for EBH as he was 2nd in the GC, but could only 5th in the stage. Impey still in yellow.

    Stage 8: Had Contador stepped up from the Dauphine? On the first of the two final climbs – Quintana attacked – small victory for Froome. Quintana was unknown – he knew he could beat Valverde. Quintana was losing seconds on every hairpin taking the wrong line. Porte and Kennaugh led the chase back to Quintana – a pace so fierce that only Contador, Valverde, Kreuziger and Froome were left at the catch. Froome attacked from 5km out (earlier than planned). Perfect stage – Froome 1 on GT, Porte 2nd.

    Stage 9: House of Cards

    Stage 8 Sky had bullied the peloton and the papers were full of “The tour is over”. Sky hadn’t realised how busied and angry the peloton was. Attacks started straight away. The peloton scented blood and knew that Sky could be broken. Garmin-Sharp declared jihad and launched a series of insane attacks. Martin and Anton were away and as borderline GC contender, Sky should have let them go but instead chased them down. Kennaugh crashed into a ditch and by the time he remounted the race was over for him. In the valley after the 1st climb there was only Porte and Froome left. But it was to get worse. Porte and then Rogers attacked, being teammates of Contador. Froome and Porte chased. We then hit the 2nd climb, Porte was finshed. Valverde attacked – Froome was alone in a group of 23-30. When in doubt act tough – so Froome when to the fromt of the peloton “I’m the sheriff. I’m restoring law and order. Calm down. Nothing to see here”. They looked around “Well tough guy, if you’re the sheriff, where is your posse?” Movistar still had seven. Saxo still had four. Froome tried to get help from Contador, because a combined Movistar/Saxo attack could be deadly. Movistar would just sting him – that was their nature. Contador would need his teammates to protect him and Froome. Contador wasn’t buying the Froome storyline “Yeah, well, we’ll see how things go today”. Valverde attacked with a teammate. Froome bridged immediately to Movistar and Contador led the charge behind, slowly bridging. Valverde asked Froome for help, but he refused. Froome was in deep trouble, but not dead. Froome realised he would have to go back to the car and get his own drink and feed, fortunately the peloton didn’t attack then. Suddenly, Movistar started working hard again. This time because Porte was making his way back on with the help of Kiryenka. The limit of Movistar’s ambition – kill Porte and open up another spot on the podium – and yet giving Froome a free ride. Froome survived and Martin had a famous stage win. At the line France TV started “A lot of people are questioning your performances here. What do you say about that?”

    Rest Day

    Instead of surrending the tour – it was a new day. Brailsford was
    taking stock. G had crashed, EBH wasn’t sure of his role. Kosta was over-raced and Kiry was lost. Lopez was relaxed, he’d gained a bit of weight after selection and lost form.
    Stage 10: Brailsford sorted out the mini-crises and handed out new roles. The of Kiry was huge and hit the team hard. Even though it was a sprint day, Sky tried to control the peloton from 30km out and it was always pretty annoying when some other team tried to muscle their way in – they called this person “Arsehole of the Day”. There was always one. And Movistar regularly scoops the title. Part of racing, but irritating. Froome likes to bite his tongue in the situation, but Porte isn’t so gentle.

    Stage 11: Froome had yellow from Valverde at 1m 25, Mollema from 1m 44 and Contador by 2mins. Just a 33km time trial and Froome was after time. Froome was lucky as he both TT and climb. He put 2mins into Valverde, Quintanta and Contador. Lead up to 3minutes. I presume that Froome had the top equipment, because he wasn’t complaining about anyone having a better bike.

    stage 12: Another dull day – one for sprinters. G & Froome would talk tactics in the morning. He told G to have a word with Cav about his team doing some work on that stage. Bad day all round – Cav lost the sprint and Sky lost EBH to a shoulder break. Froome was now learning how to handle the press – by ignoring their questions and just giving as short an answer as possible. Froome was also complaining about the monotony of the recovery food – rice, tuna and a protein shake.

    Stage13: everyone was worried about crosswinds and it was nervous. Valverde punctured at a bad moment, the Belkin team started racing to keep Valverde away. Valverde teammates were coming up to the Belkim riders “Listen what are you doing. Valverde’s punctured. This isn’t sporting”. One of Belkin guys responded “Oh, you’re asking us to be sporting? What was sporting about Valverde’s involvement in Operation Puerto?” With 40km’s to go “Saxo ripped the race further apart”. Stannard warned Froome, but he was stuck in no-mans land. Katusha helped Sky chase, but it was forlorn without EBH and Kiry’s engines. A minute lost to Contador and Mollema. Now Mollema was in 2nd 2m22s back.

    Stage 14: The Sky chef started upping his recovery snack game and Froome was happier with the better food. A boring break day as Froome was saving himself for Ventoux.

    Stage 15: The giant of Provence.
    Before Tour Froome had spoken to Contador about Ventoux. “Yeah, yeah, it’s a tough climb, but in the final, it’s always headwind and its difficult to make a selection because you’re riding into a headwind”. Contador didn’t expect an attack from 6kms out, so it was a perfect ambush. Froome was in a wrong gear spinning too fast. Contador was dropped. Froome caught Quintana and attacked immediately. Quintana responded easy. But there was no headwinds. Froome asked Quintana to help but nothing. Froome attacked again. Quintana responded. So now the game was Froome pulling to the finish with Quintana beating him to the line. Froome in riding tempo to the finish surprisingly dropped Quintana – Quintana must have run out of gas. The biggest win of Froome’s career by 29 secs. Froome and Quintana both needed oxygen at the finish.

    In the celebration dinner, Froome drank some champagne and the team had a pudding made by Michelle Cound and Froome had to go for drug testing. Three tests in one day. “My early cycling hero’s tended to test positive and die in my affections. I never want any kid to look at Ventoux today and wonder if it was all an illusion created by chemicals and cheating”

    Next day’s journal is all about being spat at and having urine thrown over him and being booed at the finishline. Onto the press conference “I’m clean. To be honest. I struggle to see how I could be any cleaner. I want a clean sport”

    Stage 16:

    On Col de Manse, Contador and Kreuziger tried to scorch the earth for saxo. They had a plan on the descent – Kreuziger first, Contador second and Froome third. As they were going into a corner Contador accelerated, Kreuziger decelelerated and Froome had to brake. While Froome was braking, Contador was surging. It was very negative and dangerous racing tactics. And it was the descent which wiped out Beloki. Froome went past and put the pressure on – fed up with this dangerous game. Contador crashed and Froome went off-road. As Contador went past Froome “He apologized and said it was his fault”. Froome “No, you are not leading us any further down this hill, you’re staying on my wheel now. Otherwise we’ll crash again” Contador had pushed it too far. Rui Costa stole the stage for Movistar.

    Stage 17: Mountain TimeTrail

    Bike Swap. Crash Froome is dead. Say hello to Evil Knieval Froome. At the final time check 10s down to Contador. The gamble with the bike swap paid off and Froome won the stage by 9s.

    Stage 18: Double Alpe D’Huez.

    Rather than getting carried away by the epicness of it. Froome looked at it as 2x45mins climbs at the end of the day. Froome told every team not to worry about the descent as they wouldn’t be racing it. Valverde said “Don’t worry, Chris, we’re not going to be lunatics either”. Contador was the worry. Contador sent two riders up the road before the descent of the Sarenne. Sky were marking Saxo, but they managed to get away on the descent. Sky took it easy. Next, Froome saw of Contador was doing a bike change on the side of the road- the dangerous attack seemed a little pointless. The organisers had said there was to be bike check at the finish line. Froome ignored the rumours of Saxo nefarious activies and just assumed Contador had a bike problem.  Movistar were sharing the load. Lopez and Kennuagh were doing great jobs, but Froome had run out of food and the car was missing. Froome was after pineapple gels – the one’s without caffeine. Froome couldn’t ask another rider for a gel as it would have been a sign of weakness. Quintana attacked when Froome put his hand up asking for help. Froome does not like Quintana.

    Froome had blown up in the mountains and survived albeit with a penalty for cheating (taking food within the last 5km)

    Stage 19:

    Lots of climbing – Thomas and Stannard were now helping on the climbs making up for the loss of Kiry and Eddie) one with a broken pelvis and the other at over 80kgs. Froome was shocked with Saxo help on the stage – Sky thought they may have been riding for the team prize. On the final descent Contador was again taking risks, but Sky wouldn’t let him get away “I’m not going to keep pushing on wet corners. I’ll back off”. So no drama in the end. Plus the biggest news – Froome finally admits to his carer that he is tired ;)

    Stage 20: Last climbing day
    Rodriguez and Quintana attacked in the eraly slopes. Sky let them go.  Eventually Quintana won and sealed his runner-up spot. Rodriguez overtook Contador for 3rd.
     
    No last dig at Wiggins, Froome will get his revenge will the team for the 2014 TdF.

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  • Flo

    • #1 Alberto Contador fangirl
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    Flo

    • #1 Alberto Contador fangirl
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    Hog hits the nail on the head and perfectly described what is probably my main issue with this book:

    Quote
    It's clear Alberto is a nice guy who chats to Froome and the book takes those snippets of conversation to turn Contador into an idiot or "amigo" who knows no better. And who was becoming the Lance Armstrong of the new era.
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  • KeithJamesMc

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    Hog hits the nail on the head and perfectly described what is probably my main issue with this book:
    exactly - why upset Contador when he has obviously provided help and advise in the past?

    Biting the hand that feeds you...
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  • Havetts

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    So it seems Froome doesnt like the caffeine and coffee during training and races.. So what about the honey flavored espresso that was supposed to be their big secret? :fp

    Anyway thanks a lot Keith for summarizing and reviewing, this is very "interesting" (read: hilarious)
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  • KeithJamesMc

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    So it seems Froome doesnt like the caffeine and coffee during training and races.. So what about the honey flavored espresso that was supposed to be their big secret? :fp

    Anyway thanks a lot Keith for summarizing and reviewing, this is very "interesting" (read: hilarious)

    Pleasure.

    Glad you enjoyed it.

    Froome as a comedian, who'd have guessed?
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  • Capt_Cavman

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    It's interesting isn't it? Here's his record from 2012, http://www.cqranking.com/men/asp/gen/rider_palm.asp?riderid=5789&year=2012&all=1&current=0

    Up until the Tour he was clearly the 4th best rider at Sky and had only really shown great form for 1 week in the Vuelta 9 months earlier. And yet he thought he was a co-leader with Wiggins who had totally dominated in winning every big target that season?

    Even if DB had bull-sh*tted him, it's an amazing level of self-deception to really believe it.
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  • search

    • Grand Tour Winner
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    poor Michelle Cound, still no trident for her

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  • "If this is cycling, I am a banana"

    Flo

    • #1 Alberto Contador fangirl
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    poor Michelle Cound, still no trident for her



    And Nibs and Bertie do have one :)
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  • Dim

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      • Velorooms
    • Awards: Race Preview of 2014Best Post 2012
    RiderGrand Tour WinsGrand Tour Stage Wins
    Alberto Contador5 (7)6
    Chris Froome14

    Tell me again, whose throne?

    Well technically, as Froome is the reigning Tour champion, the Tour is his throne, and Contador the nearest challenger.
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  • BadbrainAJ

    • Sunday Rider
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    Bloody marvelous,if only all book reviews were this good.Would never have bought the book anyway,well i might if it was as funny as this :)  :lol
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