In all the fuss about Britain's first ever Tour de France victory, Chris Froome's second place overall, three minutes and 21 seconds down on team-mate Bradley Wiggins, went comparatively unnoticed. Yet it both underlined Team Sky's superiority in the race – it was another "first" for Great Britain, having never before fielded a podium finisher – and it simultaneously confirmed the 27-year-old's Grand Tour talent.
A mere 13-second margin in the Tour of Spain last autumn between himself and the local rider Juan Jose Cobo kept Froome from being Britain's first-ever Grand Tour winner. Spain in any case, like Wiggins's fourth place in the 2009 Tour, was a breakthrough result for the Kenyan-born Briton when it came to overall classifications. Now, in the Tour de France, Froome confirmed his earlier Spanish success had been no fluke.
Indeed, there were points in the Alps and Pyrenees where Froome was visibly stronger than Wiggins, and his brief solo dig three kilometres from the line on the Col de la Toussuire raised questions about Froome's loyalty.
However, his status as Sky's plan B for the Tour's overall classification, and role as the last of the climbing experts to stay with Wiggins in the mountains meant Froome was arguably unable to show his full potential.
"Bradley will pay me back [the favour], at some point, I know that," Froome said, while promising he would respect team orders.
Froome's one moment of individual glory came on the Planche des Belles Filles, securing the mountain top stage win for Sky while Wiggins, behind him, took the overall lead.
Second in the time trial at Besancon, and second again in the closing race against the clock in Chartres, Froome will finally get his chance to demonstrate the full extent of his talent when he takes on the local star Alberto Contador in the Tour of Spain, starting 18 August.
To judge by Saturday's time trial performance he cannot be ruled out, either, in the Olympic race against the clock a week on Wednesday at Hampton Court.Reuse content