Twelve months on from Sir Bradley Wiggins receiving a knighthood for winning the Tour de France and time trial gold medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games, Chris Froome has been bestowed with… nothing.

The 2013 Tour de France winner did not feature in the 2014 New Year Honours list – a rollcall of people officially recognised for their achievements. In fact, no-one from the world of cycling received any honour: no riders, coaches, fund-raisers or organisers.

Much has been made of the fact that more women were honoured than men this year. But there was nothing for double track world champion Becky James, nothing for mountain bike world cup and world champion Rachel Atherton.

To be fair, it wasn’t just cycling that was ignored. Very few sportspeople figured in this year’s list, including Wimbledon winner Andy Murray, although as ever no reasons are given for non-inclusion (I’ll say ‘non-inclusion’, because ‘exclusion’ is far more sinister).

Previously, riders have received honours for outstanding achievements in cycling – and not just for winning Olympic medals. Mark Cavendish was bestowed with an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in the June 2011 Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to British cycling.

Froome became the second Briton to win the Tour after a standout season that also saw him win the Tour of Oman, Criterium International, Tour de Romandie and Criterium du Dauphine. And let us not forget that he was second in the Tour the previous year and claimed bronze in the London 2012 time trial behind Wiggins.

Froome’s Tour win was not a formality by any means. The Kenyan-born British national fought his way through the race, winning three stages along the way. In several respects, it was a harder edition of the race to win than in 2012.

Perhaps the Queen is saving her honours for Froome until next year. With the Tour starting in Yorkshire in July there’s a distinct possibility that Froome will again be in yellow by the time the race hits Paris at the end of the month.

Perhaps Froome, or James, or Atherton are still not yet recognised as big enough British public figures to receive an accolade. There’s no denying that Froome’s Tour victory was not met with the same fanfare as ‘Wiggomania’, and that his profile is not as high as that of his formerly side-burned Sky team-mate.

Or perhaps the bar has been set so high by the achievements of British cyclists in recent years that a Tour de France win or world title is no longer noteworthy, just expected.

Related links



List of British professional road wins 2013

  • Chris Butchers

    Wiggo would have got his knighthood even without the TdF win. As explained by the civil servant in charge of the honours system, a knighthood is the ‘tariff’ for 4 Olympic golds. It’s the cumulative history which counts, rarely a one-off achievement.

  • Rich

    All potential recipients are discretely asked in advance whether they would/wouldn’t like to be on the list, in order to avoid a T.E. Lawrence style embarrassment (who infamously walked out during the actual ceremony). It’s possible that Murray and Froome didn’t want to be patronised by the British establishment rather than are victims of an exclusion stitch-up.

  • Stuart Goodliffe

    i find the whole business about Froome not being British and the counter of Wiggins being born in Belgium and half Australian a bit stupid. Both are British passport holders and have British heritage. And both are world class riders. Wiggins deserves his recognition for a sustained period of achievment and Im sure Froome will earn his over the next few years. I doubt whether either takes potential Knighthoods or gongs into consideration when they’re training in Tenerife 2000m above sea level.

  • Dave M

    Sam
    Thanks for making the effort, you ask for a definition of ‘better rider’ but I never said he was a better rider, I said he was superior.
    There are two points here, firstly I said ‘IS’, rather than has been over time, implying ‘currently’.
    Asking me what is meant by superior would be a fair question. Climbing, as you say, ‘yes’ based on the evidence, current form, ‘yes’ based on 2013. But I also have far more respect for Froome’s polite attitude and see him as far superior as a role model too.
    But that is just my opinion, that’s all it is, It’s not fact, does my opinion matter? Not particularly, Who’s right doesn’t really matter and cannot be proved anyway.
    What I really believe is wrong is the honours system we have which is inconsistent in that they too often reward a popular individual who has done little, then ignore someone else comparitively deserving but less popular. It is not a meritocracy!
    Awards are primarily about promoting the awarding organisation and hence represent popularity contests in the interests of publicity I’m afraid.
    Maybe Froome’s greatest attribute is that he isn’t Bilbo Wiggens.

  • Chris Williams

    Tom Simpson – didn’t he do DRUGS – Why do people pay homage to a DRUG user………..

  • Sam

    After reading some of these comments, as usual I end up wondering why I do. And why I bother to write the stuff I’ve about to, rather than saving my energy.

    The comparisons with Brad Wiggins – he got his former gongs for his track medals over the years dating back to his first World gold as a junior in ’99. He consistently won medals at Worlds and Olympics over a 9 year period on the track – and got his MBE and OBE for that. His knighthood came after being the first Brit to win the Tour and THEN following that up with an Olympic gold.

    So Froome is a better rider, is it? Define ‘better rider’. Better uphill – undoubtedly. Better all-rounder – world beating track rider to TdF winner? Hardly. Give me a break.

    So forget the Wiggins got a knighthood so Froome should have got something ‘cos he’s a better rider’ guff. Personally, I was a bit surprised Froome didnt get some nod – the entry level MBE seems standard.

    But – and Chris, however you might bang on about Wiggins being born in Belgium (and yeah, funnily enough British cycling fans do know that), he’s lived in Britain since he was a 2 year old, he rode on roads familiar to many of us in the south east, he road at Herne Hill through his teens, he still lives here and can be seen out on the roads up in the North East.

    He’s as British as it comes. You only have to listen to the swearing to know that.

  • Geoff Waters, Durban, South Africa

    To us outsiders, the ‘honours system’ is a bizarre feature of British culture. It creates a new nobility in a supposedly egalitarian society. Internationally, Wiggins and Froome and other modern British cyclists enjoy respect for their achievements. Are they world cycling legends in the same class as Reg Harris and Tom Simpson? Only time, and international opinion, will tell.

  • Bruce MacFarlane

    Maybe later, as is not the current convention , is better. I am sure another medal will mean much to him.

  • Rich Hamm

    Well it seems that 2013 didn’t meet the ohhar henrys (the queen and BBC) NOTICE that yet again we had excellent athletes in the MTB and cycling world. Just not what posh people do.
    So Rachael Atherton and Tracey Moseley you get my sports personalities hero’s of the year and frommie you get a sir when address you.

  • Chris

    Every day we see people criticize Froome for having been born in Kenya (as opposed to be ‘pure’ British like Wiggins’ – I wonder how many of these brainwaves actually know that Wiggins was born in BELGIUM to an Australian father and English mother, and only moved to England later?

  • peebee

    Sorry Pete but it was nothing to do with patriotic fervour. Rather it was to do with Sir Wiggo’s back catalogue. If patriotic fervour has anything to do with it, it was because Sir Wiggo broke the century long duck and got GB off the mark in Le Tour. However, if we followed through the logic of the TdF win being the sole reason for the Knighthood for Sir Wiggo, Andy Murray could feel let down, but it is not about that. It is about the back catalogue – the track record acheived through hard graft over many years and not a single victory, however prized that victoy might have been. If Froome can acheive his ambition of mutiple Tour wins, then he too will have put himself in a position in which he can perhaps consider himself to be a as good as Sir Wiggo. One swallow doesn’t make a spring.

  • Chris Williams

    I agree -much better rider than Sir (what a joke) Wiggins. Maybe the drugs found in a Sky team rider – (or we will always be clean – SKY boss) – that did not last long…………

  • Dave M

    Honours and awards are meaningless, they are awarded expediently for the benefit of the giver (Government trying to be popular or Awards Promoter wanting exposure through popular celebs being involved) and are not earned on merit, they are awarded based on opinion. Celebrity Culture nonsense…UGGHHHH!!!!

    Sport has the luxury of real competition results speaking for themselves (unlike, say, entertainment) and we all know that Froome is superior to Wiggins. Who needs these devalued and outdated honours anyway?

  • Ken Evans

    “…doesn’t live or pay taxes here?”—–Do the Royal Family pay taxes ? How many celebrities avoid taxes ? The entire “honours” systems baffles me, it seems very much about show-biz. It has been possible to buy honours from political parties, and the vetting system isn’t very good if can honour people like Jimmy Savile. I would hope Kenya would recognize the achievements of Froome, even if Britain doesn’t. Irrespective of his nationality, to win the Tour clean is amazing.

  • Karl

    Froome is British. He may not have been born here but that makes little difference as Wiggins will tell you I’m sure. Both Cavendish and Wiggins have achieved firsts – green for Cav and yellow for Wiggins at the Tour.

    Wiggins winning Olympic gold and the Tour in the same year was an exceptional performance, not to mention the many track medals he won before, so perhaps that is why he got a knighthood. This very magazine wrote at the time, “Bradley Wiggins has been given a knighthood in the new years honours list following a sensational year for the British cyclist.” http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/news/latest/536179/bradley-wiggins-knighted-in-new-years-honours-list.html#vcy4tbHaJ752R52s.99

    Living here probably helps but it is not a prerequisite either. Cavendish has performed consistently over many years too, something Froome has to prove still.

  • Phil Walters

    May be The Queen is a sideburns person.

  • Andrew Wray

    Chris Froome’s achievements are way above the norm and are appreciated by cycle racing fans Worldwide – as regards the honours list, I wonder if he carries a British passport – if he does he ought to have been seriously considered for honour – and there’s another issue altogether regarding what it takes to be included in the list – there are some included in this year’s list who ought to have been honoured years ago, and there are some others where the reason for their being included is certainly not obvious, and, also, there are some who are omitted for reasons that could best be described as prejudicial in some way

  • Brian Hoskin

    Maybe he was offered an honour and turned it down. In relation to Andy Murray, he received an OBE last year and Honours protocol is that there be a gap between awards.

  • Pete Foden

    As others have said,probably because ha isn’t British by birth,and he upset Sir Wiggins. Despite the fact hes a superior rider.Think we all knew he wasn’t going to get an award,plus public opinion and the voice of the Pro teams managers and British Cycling didn’t exactly ‘Big Him Up’ as they did when Wiggins won it.
    It was almost public hysteria when Wiggins won during an Olympic year so ‘Froome dog’, didn’t have a chance really. Just a pity the majority of the British public cant recognize a superior rider when they see one instead of the patriotic fervor that got Wiggins knighted.

  • craig

    and the fact that he’s not british, doesn’t live or pay taxes here?

  • Ryan

    Maybe the Queen is shrewd enough to see that Froomestrong is super human and why does everyone seem to forget Brad’s plethora of olympic medals?