Chris Froome wins his first stage in this year’s Tour in a gruelling final climb. He took massive chunks of time on each of his rivals, as two of his major rivals, Nibali and Contador cracked on the climb. He has now established himself as the rider to beat.
Kenneth van Bilsen and Pierrick Fédrigo attacked early on. Much of the early pacemaking was made by Thibaut Pinot’s FDJ. Movistar finally took over at the start of today’s final climb. The climb saw many surprising names crack.
The Intermediate sprint saw the battle from 3rd place onwards with the leading 2 riders having taken maximum points. Greipel took third, ahead of Cavendish, Degenkolb and more importantly, Sagan. He climbs back into Green.
The Climb, a Hors Category lived up to its name. Early into the climb, most of the spritners dropped off. That was no surprise. However, as the climb progressed many more started to fall behind. Shocking names to fall much before the final climb, saw the top 3 of last year fall. Yes!! Vincenzo Niabli, the defending champion fell early. Contador fell as well. 6.5kms from the finish, van Garderen who was second overall finally fell.
Before Froome made his final assault, Froome, Porte, Quintana were in the leading group. 6.2kms from the finish, Froome blasted ahead. Quintana tried to keep up but gradually began to lose time, as did all his other rivals. Froome has stuck to the same strategy that Team Sky used in their 2012 and 2013 wins. When the mountains arrive, Attack hard on day one itself. While Movistar expected it, they burnt out with their rapid ascent. Sky waited before acting as they paced their leader. When he made his final assault on the climb, no one could match him.
He has now gained massive time on each rival. Froome’s teammate Richie Porte finished second. This would be a psychological blow to Quintana, who everyone expected to win and just shows the tactfulness and power of Chris Froome. The Tour is his to win. Can anyone really stop him?
The Biggest loser was Nibali. The defending champion lost 4 minutes to Froome today. While he won’t plummet down the overall classification, the successful defence of his title seems very very slim.
The General Classification Top 20
The Points Classification Top 20
The King of the Mountains Classification