Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home Sport Cycling

Tour leader Froome is surprised by rivals' failure to crank up the heat

By Ian Parker

Published 18/07/2016

Out in front: Chris Froome has the Tour de France's leader's yellow jersey but was expecting more of a challenge from his rivals on stage 15
Out in front: Chris Froome has the Tour de France's leader's yellow jersey but was expecting more of a challenge from his rivals on stage 15

Chris Froome waited in vain for his rivals to make a move as Jarlinson Pantano won stage 15 of the Tour de France.

The 160km stage from Bourg-en-Bresse to Culoz saw just a handful of half-hearted attacks against the yellow jersey and Team Sky were able to cover them to keep Froome almost two minutes clear overall.

Colombian Pantano of IAM Cycling collected his first career Grand Tour stage win by outsprinting Tinkoff’s Rafal Majka as the last two survivors of a 30-man breakaway scrapped over honours on the day, but behind there was little action in the general classification fight as another opportunity for Froome’s rivals passed by.

“I’m surprised there weren’t more attacks because it was a perfect opportunity to really put us under pressure,” Froome said. “I did expect more but it was such a hard day not many people had the legs there.”

Froome crossed safely in a much-reduced peloton a little over three minutes after Pantano, and the Team Sky man remains one minute 47 seconds clear of Trek-Segafredo’s Bauke Mollema in second, with Briton Adam Yates of Orica-BikeExchange still third, two minutes 45 seconds down and leading the young riders’ classification.

After the riders tackled the Hors categories Grand Colombier, they crossed the finish line for a first time in Culoz and doubled back to go up the other side of the mountain and it was there, on the Lacets, that a handful of contenders tried their luck.

Astana’s Fabio Aru was the first, followed by Quintana’s team-mate Alejandro Valverde and then AG2R La Mondiale’s Romain Bardet.

But each time Froome’s Sky team-mates just increased the pace at the front of the peloton and methodically reeled them back in without Froome having to do the work.

“I really am in such a privileged position to have such a strong team around me,” Froome said. “It may be the strongest team Sky has ever put in the Tour de France and these are guys who would be leaders in other teams in their own right.

“It must be demoralising for others to have to think of attacking knowing this calibre of riders will be chasing them down.”

Belfast Telegraph

How to Complain

If you have a complaint about the editorial content of the Belfast Telegraph or Sunday Life then contact the Editor here. If you are not satisfied with the response provided then you can contact the Independent Press Standards Organisation here

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting?

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph