RICK JACKSON: Arise Sir Chris – knighthood is long overdue for cyclist

Britain's Chris Froome celebrates after winning the Spanish Vuelta in Madrid. The special trophy he holds was given to him as he won both the Tour de France and La Vuelta. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

Surely one of the most deserved knighthoods will now be bestowed on Chris Froome?

He has become one of Britain’s greatest sportsmen, even if many who know who he is have never watched him in action.

Britain currently dominates the world of cycling, something we have never really done before. Maybe this is why the sport still slips under the radar.

How the French hate it that a Brit has won their prestigious Tour de France four times putting him in a select group who have also done so.

Last Sunday Froome further cemented his brilliance by winning the Spanish version, the Vuelta a Espana.

Not only is he the first Brit to win it, with so many mountain ranges the toughest of the three Grand Tours, but he’s also only the third sportsman to do it in history and the first since 1978. That was by a Frenchman.

Imagine their mood!

But still cycling is relegated to lesser watched channels, ITV4 and Eurosport.

Perhaps some stages are not as exciting as others, but the sheer effort involved is awe-inspiring.

One of the mountain stages on the Vuelta saw the cyclists tackle gradients of more than one in four as well as climbing for more than 10km. And all this was while they were in the saddle for more than four hours.

Then they do it again the following day and for more than three weeks with only two rest days. Phenomenal.

If cricket can be screened live, a sport which is considered painfully slow to watch for the uninitiated, the same can be said for cycling.

Within each race, are many other races. They are races of great teamwork as well as individual brilliance. Tactics, power and stamina all come into it.

Each team will have a rider aiming for the overall win, the sprint title, the King of the Mountains honour and Young Rider. All need to be helped and protected by team ‘domestiques’ during each stage.

It becomes a fascinating game – a mix of cat and mouse and chess, along with superhuman efforts to climb Europe’s most mountainous roads.

With such UK success, hopefully the sport will become more mainstream.


How did your partner propose? Was it a grand gesture or a simple shrug of the shoulders and a ‘suppose we’d better get married’ question?

There is a great one on the A3 between Guildford and the M25. Have you’ve noticed it?

On one bridge a banner reads ‘Louise’.

On the next is another with the words ‘let’s get’ followed by another banner saying ‘married’ on the following bridge. The last banner says ‘Jon’.

I’ve been witness to many great proposals by strangers, including some at Fratton Park and the Isle of Wight Festival and I’ve even proposed on others’ behalf over the airwaves.

I wonder if Louise said yes and how many days it took her to notice he’d actually asked!


The old Cowes floating bridge has become a familiar site in Gosport as many of us catch the ferry or simply watch the harbour from the gardens.

She crossed the River Medina faithfully for 40 years and now needs new owners or she will meet the cutter’s torch.

But oh dear, her replacement has been withdrawn by the council permanently until all her issues have been sorted. Even lawyers have been involved.

The old bridge’s new owners have offered her back on hire, but the island council has declined, siting the amount of work needed to the changed facilities on the island.

Can no service at all really be better than the embarrassment of bringing back the old one?

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