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Chris Froome says don’t be quick to judge and ‘think twice’ before insulting athletes

In his first video since the Tour de France, Chris Froome talks about finishing the race, athlete mental health and being mistaken for a tourist on French television.

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Chris Froome says people should “think twice before you hurl an insult at an athlete.”

Speaking in a video on his own YouTube channel, the first he’s published since finishing the Tour de France, Froome said that expectations on athletes were sometimes too high and that some were struggling due to the amount of criticism thrown their way.

Froome said the internet allowed some people to make comments they would never choose to say directly to an athlete.

Also read: Chris Froome stubbornly refuses to give up on Tour de France dream

“If I can put any message out there, I would say think twice before you hurl an insult at an athlete. I mean, we’re all out there obviously giving our best every time we represent our country and our team,” Froome said.

“We want to give our best performance, so I mean it’s not as if athletes are out there trying not to do our best. I think a lot of athletes are criticized pretty heavily and we shouldn’t be so quick to criticize them when maybe they don’t meet expectations.”

Froome himself has been on the receiving end of abuse on social media during his career but has also experienced it first-hand.

At the 2015 Tour de France, Froome said he had a cup of urine thrown at him during a stage. During the 2020 Route d’Occitanie, Froome shouted back at a spectator who started booing him on one of the stages.

“As a community, I think generally there are expectations on athletes now that they are almost superhuman. I don’t think all athletes are necessarily superhuman in terms of dealing with emotions and all the criticisms that are sometimes thrown their way,” Froome said in the video.

Also read: Chris Froome edges toward life out of saddle with ‘road captain’ role

“We see more and more athletes that are really struggling because of the direct access through social media and other media outlets. People can sit behind a screen and throw insults at an athlete in a way that you wouldn’t do in person, or if you were passing in the street or the supermarket. People wouldn’t say the things that they say on social media directly to the athlete.”

Recovering from the Tour de France

In the nearly 10-minute video, Froome also takes a look back at the Tour de France in July. It was his first appearance at the French grand tour since the horrific crash prior to the 2019 Critérium du Dauphiné that nearly ended his career.

This year’s Tour race started off badly for the four-time champion after he got caught up in a high-speed crash towards the end of the first stage. He was ultimately able to make it to Paris, but he was far from the Froome that had previously dominated the race in the past.

Also read: Race of survival for Chris Froome after stage 1 crash

“That was a brutal race. That crash on stage 1 really put me back. It was a high-speed crash. I think we hit the deck at about 60k an hour, there were bikes and bodies everywhere,” he said. “I hit a point on my upper leg, it must have been on someone else’s bike, but I couldn’t even stand up. I had to get people to stand me up and get me back on the bike.

“I think it was really important to get me back on the bike. Even though I was black and blue for the best part of two weeks and my ribs… I felt my ribs all the way through to Paris, even on the cobblestones on the Champs Élysées. I felt it was important to get through the race and get the Tour de France in the legs.”

Froome has not raced since the Tour, but is scheduled to appear at the Deutschland Tour next week. During his break from racing, he went to Germany for some tests on his digestive system. The 36-year-old said he was suffering from stomach issues during the Tour, which he says are now resolved.

Though Froome hasn’t been racing, he could not avoid the media spotlight and he was spotted by French TV crews reporting on forest fires in the south of France. However, the news crew didn’t recognize him and he was described as a “cycle tourist” in a subsequent broadcast.

“I found myself in the news, which was a pretty funny story. I’d gone out on a little spin on some back roads. I never normally see anyone,” Froome said. “All my team jerseys were dirty, so I just put a black jersey on and went out the back door. I had a French TV crew sort of stop me in the middle of the road and telling me that the road was closed due to a risk of fires in the area.

“I ended up being on national French television. I think because I was wearing a neutral jersey, the journalists were not sporting journalists, so they didn’t recognize me. I just nodded, said ‘OK’ and turned around, and left. That made it onto the news saying that even bike tourists are being stopped from riding in this area. Next thing I know, I had thousands of messages from people saying they saw me on the news. Thanks, France 2.”