SEARCH

Voiceofsport

Chris Froome, cycling super star will highlight toxic Kenya plastic bottle menace

KENYA-born cycling super star Chris Froome will be riding for new team, his famous Team Sky having been wound up. Froome’s new team went straight into a storm because it is bankrolled by a chemical giant.

It is all about plastic and the world’s revulsion with it. Kenya, having banned use of plastic bags in February 2018 now grapples with a horrendous concentration of plastic bottles waste and there is a loud call to ban the use of these too.

TOP: Chris Froome (centre) at the launch of Team Ineos. Above, Froome (right) with Jim Ratcliffe and Dave Braisfold

TOP: Chris Froome (centre) at the launch of Team Ineos. Above, Froome (right) with Jim Ratcliffe and Dave Braisford

In the coming day’s whenever Froome races, the subject of Kenya’s plastic bottle menace will be highlighted. What a windfall to anti-plastic bottle use campaigners in Kenya!

Chris Froome helped officially launch Team Ineos on Wednesday ahead of Britain’s Tour de Yorkshire as the former Team Sky man — widely followed in country of birth and where he started his sport, even winning a Silver medal for Kenya at the 2007 All Africa Games in Algiers — plot to build on a decade of success.

Horrific plastic bottles clogging of rivers and urban drainages in Kenya

Horrific plastic bottles clogging of rivers and urban drainages in Kenya

Chemicals giant Ineos, founded by Britain’s richest man Jim Ratcliffe, confirmed its takeover of the British [Team Sky] outfit in March after Sky announced it would end a 10-year commitment.

Deep-pocketed Team Sky won six Tour de France titles in the past seven years and racked up eight Grand Tour victories in total but were mired in controversy for using special exemptions to administer drugs that can enhance performance.

“This is a momentous day for the team, our fans and cycling in general,” said team principal Dave Brailsford. “We are hugely excited about the future with Ineos at the helm.”

Chris Froome in Kenya among riders of the club that nurtured his talent

Chris Froome (fourth from left) in Kenya among riders of the club that nurtured his talent

The location of the press conference, held in a pub in the Yorkshire countryside, was kept secret until this morning [Wednesday] due to concerns over protestors attending. Ineos, a petrochemical company, has faced criticism from environmental groups, notably due to its involvement in fracking within the British county.

Ratcliffe attempted to laugh off the fact that 15,000 face masks with his image and devil horns had been produced ahead of the Tour de Yorkshire, where the team will make their official debut in their new red and black colours.

“I wouldn’t want to get involved in fracking if it was dangerous. All you do is pump water down. I think it’s a real shame that the north of England is being deprived of cheaper energy, and it’s outrageous that the government listens to a small noisy minority instead of looking at the science,” Ratcliffe said at the press conference.

Volunteers and park rangers, after just a brief search of a section in Nairobi’s Karura Forest, normally come up with heaps of plastic left behind by excursion groups

Volunteers and park rangers, after just a brief search of a section in Nairobi’s Karura Forest, normally come up with heaps of plastic left behind by excursion groups

Environmental protesters are expected to line the route of the four-day Tour de Yorkshire, beginning on Thursday, to voice their anger at Ineos’s record on fracking and plastics.

Brailsford defended the new owners of his cycling team, speaking alongside Ratcliffe and four-time Tour de France winner Froome, who unveiled the new team kit.

“I’m not an expert in chemicals, I’m an expert in trying to make Chris ride his bike faster,” he said.

“But when I did come to educate myself I realised there’s a very simplistic view and when you dive down into it and take the effort you can find out there’s a very different view. I’m very comfortable with the situation we’re in.”

Brailsford said that where Sky had promoted recycling campaigns, “if anybody can do anything about it, it’s these guys”.

Ratcliffe defended his company’s operations, saying Ineos had pioneered new methods of recycling plastic.

Plastic-free, then; the ‘Out of Africa,’ story of Chris Froome, born in Nairobi, Kenya, in May 1985

Plastic-free, then; the ‘Out of Africa,’ story of Chris Froome, born in Nairobi, Kenya, in May 1985

On fracking, he said the majority of environmental groups he has met with are “ignorant” of the facts, and said it was a cheap source of energy.

Meanwhile, Froome pushed back on some of the scrutiny directed at Team Ineos, describing what he sees as ‘double standards’ because of the levels of criticism directed at the British team while other squads are given easier times.

“Unless you’re going to ask every anchorman on every news show about the people who pay for advertising on their shows, then I think there are double standards there,” Froome  said.

Without mentioning teams by name, Froome hinted at petrochemical company Total, who recently took over the lead sponsorship of French team Direct Energie.

[In Africa, one of leading sponsors of sport is oil giant, Total — backing all CAF (Africa Football Confederation) major soccer tournaments including the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) and the CAF Champions League]

Team Dimension Data rider Mark Cavendish will join Froome on the start line for the race in the north of England, hoping to battle the likes of Katusha-Alpecin’s Marcel Kittel in the anticipated sprint finishes.

Young Chris Froome with Rhino at Ol Pajeta, Laikipia

Young Chris Froome with Rhino at Ol Pajeta, Laikipia

Defending Tour de Yorkshire champion Greg Van Avermaet and 2017 winner Serge Pauwels will also be taking part.

What is fracking?: Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involves pumping water, sand and chemicals under the ground at high pressure to release gas from rock formations.

Why is it bad?: In addition to air and water pollution, fracking also increases the potential for oil spills, which can harm the soil and surrounding vegetation. Fracking may cause earthquakes due to the high pressure used to extract oil and gas from rock and the storage of excess wastewater on site.

INEOS:  One of the largest producers of plastic in the world. They say; they are as horrified as anyone at powerful images of rising tide of plastic filling our oceans, children playing on mountains of discarded plastic bottles and sea turtles, mistaking plastic for food.

-Additional reporting by Correspondents and Agencies

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *