Froome Wins Stage 10 of Tour de France; Extends Lead
Chris Froome (Sky) has blown open the Tour de France. Froome surged away from the lead group on the hors categorie ascent to the finish to win the 167-km ride from Tarbes to La Pierre-Saint-Martin in 4:22:07. Froome’s teammate Richie Porte finished second at 0:59, with Nairo Quintana (Movistar) taking third at 1:04. Froome has extended his overall lead to nearly three minutes.
Perhaps with the idea of a French victory on Bastille Day on his mind, Pierrick Fedrigo (Bretagne-Seche Environnement) jumped clear at 7.5 km. Kenneth van Bilsen (Cofidis) joined him at 45 km, and the pair led the field by 13:55 at the feed zone at 75 km. When the peloton got there, Warren Barguil (Giant-Alpecin) crashed. The Frenchman injured his right knee but remounted and rejoined the peloton.
Movistar led the peloton for much of the day. With 55 km left, FDJ took over from the Spanish squad. The escapees’ lead dropped rapidly. It was less than five minutes with 25 km left, 3:30 five km later, and 2:30 at the base of the climb to the finish. Fedrigo dropped his companion on the lower slopes of the climb.
Early in the ascent, Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida), Daniel Navarro (Cofidis), Wilco Kelderman (LottoNL-Jumbo), Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-Quick Step), Andrew Talansky and Dan Martin (both from Cannondale-Garmin), Romain Bardet and Jean-Christophe Peraud (both from Ag2r-La Mondiale), Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) were dropped. With 10 km left, Robert Gesink (LottoNL-Jumbo) attacked and Rafael Valls (Lampre-Merida) joined him. Gesink dropped Valls and caught and dropped Fedrigo, but things were brewing behind him.
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) attacked, but the Sky-led maillot jaune group reeled him in. Porte accelerated, and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo Bank) and Tejay van Garderen (BMC) fell off of the pace. With 6.5 km to go, Froome attacked.
Quickly, Froome forged a 25-second lead. Quintana chased, but the gap widened. Porte, whom Quintana had dropped earlier, caught the Colombian and jumped him to take second. Froome threw his arms aloft as he crossed the finish line.
The Sky man had intended to ride defensively but attacked when he realized that his rivals were in trouble. "I just thought instead of riding a defensive race, ‘Come on guys. Let’s push on here. Some guys are in trouble. Let’s take advantage of that,’” the Briton said. “I asked the guys to push on a bit. The legs felt good so I think it worked out just to plan.
"Now we’re just going to have to take it on a daily basis. I’m in such a great position now and with such a team around me. Guys like Richie Porte coming second, G [Geraint Thomas] just a few places back in fifth–it just shows the caliber of riders I’ve got supporting me. Hopefully, now we can just ride a defensive race. Let’s see–there’s still a very long way to go to Paris but of course I’m ecstatic about how it went today.
"When I heard [the time gaps] on the radio it was like music to the ears, especially this early in the race. There are some really big time gaps today which I’m quite surprised about, seeing as we only had the one climb on the final. The one thing that comes to mind for me is that maybe some of the guys didn’t look after themselves quite that well through the rest day yesterday, or maybe came out of the rest day feeling quite heavy. My guys were great. It was a dream day for us."
In the overall, Froome leads van Garderen by 2:52 and Quintana by 3:09. Stage 11 promises more suffering for the riders. The 188-km ride from Pau to Cauterets will take the field over six categorized climbs, the last three of which will be the Category 1 Col d’Aspin, the hors categorie Col du Tourmalet, and the Category 3 ascent to the finish. Who will win? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!