In one of the most dominant performances in recent memory, Christopher Froome has won the 2013 Tour de France. This comes on the heels of Froome's heartbreaking loss in 2012, thus serving as his official introduction to the world.
While this may appear to be a premature statement, upon deeper evaluation, it becomes clear that Froome can be Cycling's next dominant force.
Since Lance Armstrong—yes, I said his name—retired in 2005, the cycling world has been starless. There may be names that diehard fans recognize upon first glance, but there's one thing that we simply cannot deny.
What Armstrong did for the popularity of this sport in terms of global popularity is unparalleled.
Unfortunately, cycling has been without a rider to come along and take the torch as Armstrong did from Miguel Indurain. Alberto Contador appeared to be that rider, winning the Tour de France in 2007 and 2009 but was disqualified from the 2010 and the 2011 events.
Froome has a chance to step into that role and lead cycling into the next generation.
During the 2012 Tour de France, Froome burst onto the scene with a second place finish in the general classification. Froome was just 3'21" behind teammate and eventual winner Bradley Wiggins, which has sparked this two-year period of dominance by Great Britain's riders.
One year later, Froome broke through and won it all.
A second-place finish can be a crushing blow to an athlete's confidence, specifically in a race that's spread out over 21 stages. Rather than letting his shortcomings derail his promising career, Froome played a critical role in Wiggins winning and then broke through himself—the sign of a champion.
If this has told us anything, it's that Froome is not just a flash in the pan but a true annual contender. Not only does he have a Tour de France title to his name, but he's come painfully close in 2012.
At 28, it's safe to say that Froome is here to stay.
Youth On His Side
Armstrong won his first career Tour de France at the age of 27, turning 28 later that calendar year in 1999. Indurain won the first of his five consecutive Tour de France titles in 1991, also checking in at 27.
Froome is right on time in that regard, winning his first yellow championship at 28.
Froome came in second at 27, so forgive him for being one year off of the mark with a marvelous runner-up performance. At 28, entering the prime of his career, Froome built upon past success to establish himself as a world power.
Matching Armstrong and Indurain will be beyond difficult, but that doesn't mean Froome will be unable to establish his dominance.
As previously alluded to, cycling is without a superstar, as the past eight Tour de France events have gone to seven different riders. Over the past two years, the one constant has been Froome's ability to maintain consistency and break through this year.
All signs point to his dominance continuing into future seasons.