On Sunday, July 21, 2013 Chris Froome, from Great Britain, won the 100th Tour de France.
The significance of his victory lies in the way in which he addressed the issue of illegal doping and how it has devastated the sport of cycling’s Brand. In order for cycling to regain its luster and Brand strength, it must overcome the devastation of the Lance Armstrong era; a monumental task given it’s length and strength.
In an L.A. Times article in their Sports Section on Monday July 22, Froome is quoted as saying: “This is one yellow jersey that will stand the test of time.” And time is the only test that can restore the Brand integrity of cycling.
Chris Froome has begun the first leg of the Tour de Truth. This is an important unfolding story to follow because if it succeeds it will serve as a continuous object lesson for fallen angels everywhere that have been stabbed and wounded – but not quite killed – on the sword of their own lies. It will become the saga of the rebirth of a Brand – not simply the messages and image – but the tangible reality of what they deliver and how they deliver it. And it will unfold one race at a time, one winner at a time. What came crashing down in an instant can only be rebuilt over several years, and that too is a living symbol of the time and effort and expense required to rebuild something as precious as a strong Brand.
You can’t rush it. There are no shortcuts. You must honor the process. If your Brand is in the shoes of professional cycling – take heed. They just might be one of the great teaching examples we’ll see over the next several years.