Tour de France

Contador expecting Froome show of force

2017-07-04 22:27
chris froome
Chris Froome (Getty Images)

Vittel - Two-time former Tour de France winner Alberto Contador believes reigning champion Chris Froome will make a move on Wednesday's fifth stage mountain summit finish.

In two of his three previous Tour victories - 2013 and 2015 - Froome has made a devastating move on the first mountain top stage finish to gain time on his main rivals.

And Spaniard Contador is expecting the same thing to happen again at La Planche des Belles Filles on Wednesday, a finish where Briton Froome gained his first Tour stage win in 2012.

"I think if Froome is well he will try to get more differences," Contador said following Tuesday's fourth stage.

"He has a very powerful team (Sky), they demonstrated this in the time-trial, and he is a rider who always likes to make differences in the first mountain stage.

"If he has strength, he will try something for sure."

This will be the third time a Tour stage finishes on the steep 5.9km Planche des Belles Filles climb.

Contador missed it in 2012 as he was serving a doping suspension and in 2014, when Italian Vincenzo Nibali took victory at the summit, the Spaniard had crashed out earlier in the day.

"I could say more (about the climb) if I did not crash in 2014," added the 34-year-old Trek team leader.

"I think it's a pretty spectacular climb because it's short, but steep. It is already beginning to be hot, and in the first mountain stage, there are always surprises.

"I hope to feel well and depending on how I go, I'll decide the tactics to follow."

Contador currently sits 26th overall and 54 seconds behind race leader Geraint Thomas.

Froome is second, just 12 seconds behind his Sky team-mate, who acknowledged that he might give up the yellow jersey to his team leader on Wednesday.

But Thomas said Sky would not be chasing down a breakaway, so the stage victory might not be in play when the favourites reach the climb.

"It depends what the tactics are really, I don't think we're going to use a lot of energy to bring the break back," said Thomas.

"If it is all together when we come to the climb, Froomey will be our main goal and I will do all I can to help him.

"If he takes the (yellow) jersey, great! If I keep it, even better!

"The main aim to not lose time to another of the favourites."

But Thomas said Australian Richie Porte will be the man to look out for on the climb.

"Richie Porte for sure. As we know he's in great shape - in the Dauphine, yesterday too (Monday) he showed good legs.

"The climb suits him so well, he's a major threat. Astana with Fabio Aru and Jakob Fuglsang are both looking in great condition, but a lot of other guys there, (Romain) Bardet, Dan Martin.

"It's always a bit funny in the first mountain stage.

"(Afterwards) you (will) know where the guys are at. It will be a good indicator for the rest of the race."

BMC leader Porte, for one, cannot wait.

"I'm super motivated for tomorrow, all the guys in the team are motivated for tomorrow as well," he said.

"We'll just have to see how the race goes."

Read more on:    tdf 2017  |  alberto contador  |  chris froome  |  cycling
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