Like the marginal gains philosophy that has made Team Sky famous, which it turns out may not have been so marginal after all, Chris Froome is striking back at his adoring public in the most marginal way possible. He’s blocking them on Twitter. While the UCI may have been happy to keep the Grand Tour star’s adverse finding quiet, the Twitter account @YBFroomed is making sure his activity on the social platform is suitably documented. The account is documenting who’s been blocked by the beleaguered cyclist, and rewarding the best reasons with #Froomed points. Twitter users can submit their blocked user notice from Chris Froome, or his wife Michelle Froome, along with what incited this digital lashing from the lanky Sky rider and @YBFroomed will Tweet about it, creating what the account is calling “a peloton of the #Froomed.”
Andrew went to extra terrestrial lengths to earn his blocking 👽. With sound effects too🏎!
— You've Been Froomed (@YBFroomed) February 12, 2018
Offending Tweets range from the silly and innocuous, to proper and rather impolite trolling of the Froome’s respective Twitter accounts. The peloton of the #Froomed includes the obviously targeted accounts, such as “Chris Froome’s Inhaler,” to the average, interested cycling fan. Impressively, though, several users note that they’ve been blocked without ever specifically mentioning either Froome by their Twitter handle.
Iain mate, they have eyes everywhere. Nothing escapes a Froome blocking spree. 🚫
— You've Been Froomed (@YBFroomed) February 8, 2018
— You've Been Froomed (@YBFroomed) February 7, 2018
It’s hard not to note the humorous parallels between Froome and the most infamous doper of recent times. The Texan legend that ended up on the wrong side of the long arm of the law, Lance Armstrong, was as ruthless and systematic in his retributions as he was in his cheating. There’s been enough ink spilled on details of the Livewrong scandal, but it’s worth bringing up for how comically minor, but efficient, the generally polite Kenya-born rider’s response to online taunts have been, along with his less comical and maybe not so marginal gains. This, though, is also inline with Team Sky unofficial policy. On Sir Bradley Wiggins’s mystery Jiffy bag and now the team’s mute media response to the adverse finding currently hanging over Froome, the British squad has only spoken on accusations of not-so-marginal performance strategies when facing overwhelming pressure to do so. It was only months into the current scandal that Sir Dave Brailsford finally voiced his support of his star cyclist. The silent treatment irked many during Sir Wiggins’s troubles, and the strategy is facing opposition from all sides when it comes to Froome and his suspect salbutamol use. Professional riders are growing frustrated that Team Sky’s denial is dragging the salbutamol into a sensational story that is drawing attention away from the actual racing of bikes, while race organizers and media are upset that Sky’s refusal to acknowledge there could be a problem is setting up cycling for another full-scale media scandal, especially as Froome returns to racing. @YBFroomed may not resolve the current controversy, but it is a humorous reminder that if you tweet, Froome is listening.