Froome battles through strong winds to extend lead in France
Chris Froome extended his overall lead in the Tour de France with an opportunistic attack before organisers confirmed today's stage to the famed Mont Ventoux has been shortened on safety grounds.
Howling crosswinds of more than 100kph allowed Froome to take time out of his rivals on stage 11 from Carcassonne to Montpellier as he latched on to Peter Sagan's stage-winning move 12km from the finish, coming home second to the world champion but crucially six seconds ahead of the chasing pack.
With bonus seconds applied, Froome now leads the general classification by 28 seconds from 23-year-old Briton Adam Yates of Orica-Bike Exchange, with Irishman Dan Martin of Etixx-QuickStep third, 31 seconds down.
However, the winds have forced organisers to move the finish of today's stage 12 from the summit of Mont Ventoux to Chalet Reynard midway up the climb, shortening the day by six kilometres.
Froome won on Mont Ventoux on his way to overall victory in 2013, but thanked the organisers for putting riders' safety first.
"At the end of the day, apparently there are gale force winds and it just wouldn't be safe for the riders so thank you to the organisers," he said. "It's the right thing to do."