Another stage win for England’s Chris Froome sees him stretch his lead over Spaniard Alberto Contador to 4′ 34″. Froome can do no wrong, he’s the fastest rider in the 100th Tour de France after winning last night’s time trial by 8.82 seconds over Contador.
Michael Rogers was the best placed Aussie finishing 13th and some 2′ 25″ behind the pack. Cadel Evans, Australia’s only hope of winning another TdF finished way back in 167th, a staggering 8’04” behind the stage winner Froome. Evans sits in 18th place in the overall standings and still hopes of getting a podium finish even though he is 24 minutes behind the yellow jersey leader.
The day’s bravest rider award has to be given to France’s Jean-Christophe Peraud who crashed twice, once during his practice run and again just 2 kilometres from the finish line landing heavily on his right shoulder. Peraud is ninth overall but sadly has been removed from the race.
Rain started to fall with 55 riders yet to finish their trials which would seem hazardous for Froome who was among the 55 riders. However, BMC rider Tejay Van Garderen, who was in the hot seat at the time, suggested that Froome would eventually overtake him whether the rain stopped or not.
Contador led at the 6.5-kilometre and 20-kilometre marks. It looked like the Spaniard would get the stage win when Froome swapped his bike just before the 20-kilometre mark. But what worked in Froome’s favour was that the rain had stopped and he now had hardly any wet spots along the track to navigate.
This was Froome’s first-time trail victory and his third-stage win this Tour. He’ll wear the yellow jersey in the stage to Alpe d’Huez on the last Thursday of the Tour. With four stages left, the Sky Procycling rider looks set to win his maiden TdF. – Blake Moretti
Top photo is Chris Froome celebrating his stage win, taken from Tour de France website.