• Arms out, legs out, spinning furiously... Yep, that's The Thrasher. (AFP)Source: AFP
You don't know where, you don't know when, you don't know how. All you know is that when it happens to Chris Froome, it happens in chaos, writes Anthony Tan.
Cycling Central
30 Jan 2017 - 6:05 PM  UPDATED 30 Jan 2017 - 6:40 PM

The Hornet shakes and shimmies, virtually convulses, as he rushes into an invisible opponent, a muscle-bound and moustachioed Pacquiao weighed down in the ring by his eight world-title belts. The Hornet's always adjusting his rhythm, never angling in where you think he's going to angle in, throwing lefts when you think he's going to throw rights, so busy with his limbs your aching ringside brain can't fix on a point of study.

"I call it a 'Broken Rhythm Pressure' style. It's built on chaos theory. I'm coming at you but you don't know what I'm going to throw and you'll never know what I'm gonna throw."

"After last year's Tour, we know to expect the unexpected. But that doesn't make him any easier to decipher."

Glenn Rushton, the iconoclastic Brisbane trainer who discovered the once-bullied English teacher with the choirboy face, Jeff 'The Hornet' Horn, now the World Boxing Organisation's number-two ranked welterweight, is best explaining to The Weekend Australian Magazine the style he conceived many years ago; a modus operandi he hopes will enable Horn to defeat 38-year-old Filipino Manny Pacquiao when they match up sometime this April.

His hands form fists and his shoulders move and his legs wobble and his head shakes from side to side.

"You don't know when I'm comin', you don't know what I'm throwin'. You don't know which way I'm comin' in, you won't know which way I'll go out."

Is this not unlike Chris Froome?

The man who, on the eleventh stage at the 2012 Tour, defied team orders just to prove he was the best climber, attacking his leader Bradley Wiggins on La Toussuire.

The man who, the very next year, showcased his inimitable climbing form - "thrashing", his good friend and former team-mate Richie Porte once described it - to decimate the field on Ax 3 Domaines and Mont Ventoux, before nailing the coffin in the final individual time trial.

The man who, at the 2015 Tour, still managed to turn the first high mountain stage of La Pierre Saint-Martin into a veritable killing field, even though all his rivals knew what he was going to do before he did it.

The man who, on the eighth stage at the 2016 Tour, stunned the cycling world with a daredevil descent off the Col de Peyresourde. Then, four days later and with Peter Sagan and only two others for company, stunned them once again en route to Montpellier - before he thrashed his way up the mountain to Megève in an uphill TT, winning Grande Boucle #3 as convincingly as he won his first.

Like Clark Kent, Peter Parker and Jeff Horn, when he's not fighting, Chris Froome is shy and polite to the point of nerdiness. He's just a (skinny) man in the street. You ask him a question and he nods to say he understands; he replies and he nods to ask if you understand. He's quite possibly the most gentlemanly Tour winner in the modern era.

He is machinery. He is the chain reaction inside a nuclear bomb. He is chaos. Shuffling, stepping, shuddering, shaking, dancing. "He gets in the ring and he's in a trance," Rushton says. "Outside the ring, he's the most mild-mannered guy you've ever met. When he gets in the ring he becomes The Hornet."

After last year's Tour, we know to expect the unexpected. But that doesn't make him any easier to decipher. His unconventional style, once described by Cannondale-Drapac sport director as "a crime against cycling", only fuels the enigma. All we know is that when he goes, he goes; furiously spinning, spinning furiously. Like The Hornet, so busy with his arms and legs your brain aches just watching and wondering how it all works to propel him faster than the rest and when he's finished convulsing, not leave his torso limbless.

One thing's certain: Chris Froome thrives on chaos. When he fights on the bike, he becomes The Thrasher.