International Cycling

Froome 'pushed to limits' by rivals

2015-07-23 11:44
Chris Froome (Getty Images)

Gap - Tour de France leader Chris Froome admits his rivals' tactical racing is pushing him to his "limits".

With three Alpine stages left in this year's race before Sunday's procession to Paris, Froome knows he won't be given a moment's rest by fellow overall contenders desperate to turn the tide on a Tour that so far has been tightly locked away in the Briton's pocket.

Thursday's 186.5km 18th stage from Gap to Saint Jean de Maurienne may not look on paper like a course where time differences can be gained, but the last week's racing has proved to Froome that the likes of Movistar pair Nairo Quintana (second overall at 3min 10sec) and Alejandro Valverde (third at 4min 09sec), Tinkoff-Saxo's Alberto Contador (fifth at 6min 40sec) or even reigning champion Vincenzo Nibali (seventh at 8min 04sec) will not let him relax.

Already on Wednesday's 17th stage from Digne-les-Bains to Pra Loup, Froome was left to soldier on alone as his teammates were shed by the aggressive riding of Movistar, Tinkoff and Astana.

Quintana had even started the attacks within the first 50km.

"I was definitely pushed to my limits (Wednesday) with all those attacks and we can definitely expect more of that over the next three days," said Froome, the 30-year-old Sky leader.

Movistar had sent two riders up the road in a breakaway to be used later to help Quintana and Valverde on the final climb.

"It was a very impressive ride by them to have numbers in the finish there," admitted Froome.

Tinkoff had planned a similar tactic but it unravelled when Contador crashed on the tricky descent off the Col d'Allos.

Peter Sagan and Rafal Majka had gone up the road in a breakaway and Australian Michael Rodgers was also ahead of the peloton ready to act as a bridge.

"We made a move and sent two guys out in the break and then I made a move, a bit far out," explained Rodgers.

"The idea was to have a group of guys waiting for Alberto on the top of the penultimate climb. It worked out perfectly, we had Peter, Alberto and then myself in that select group with Rafal further ahead.

"Unfortunately, Alberto slipped in one of the corners. There were a lot of bumps and his front wheel slipped and before we knew it he was on the ground."

With Contador slipping out to 6min 40sec behind Froome, the Briton says his Spanish rival will be doing nothing but attacking from now on in.

"Alberto Contador lost more time in that final descent with his crash and you can only expect him to attack in the next few stages," said Froome.

Thursday's stage has seven categorised climbs, making it ideal for a breakaway and both Movistar and Tinkoff are sure to have men in that.

But the main danger may come from the 21km long hours category Col du Glandon.

Even though it peaks just under 40km from the finish, Froome can expect the fireworks to ignite on the ascent.

Read more on:    tdf  |  chris froome  |  cycling

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Live scoring

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Besides the 'Big 3' of rugby, cricket and soccer, which of the 'smaller' sports in South Africa do you enjoy the most?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.