Chris Froome: The King of Ventoux

Bryn Lennon

After a rough week for race-leader Chris Froome he came back with a vengeance to grab the stage and more time on General Classification on the mythical Mont Ventoux. He now leads the race comfortably with 4 min 14 sec to his nearest rival.

With a long stage of 242 km where the breakaway was hotly contested there was little rest for the riders early on the stage. Teams missing the break did their best to reel it back in and/or launch their riders to get into it. Rolland of Europcar missed it and put on a chase that saw him almost reach it only to be denied. Movistar and Europcar then seized control of the peloton and keep the breakaway within striking distance, Movistar hoping for a stagewin for one of their captains to make up for falling out of the GC on the crosswinds stage the other day. So it was an already tired peloton that reached the bottom of the big climb of the day.

Sky set the early pace on the climb and quite rapidly burned off their support riders but they were also causing havoc behind as riders dropped like flies in the sweltering heat in the forest at the foot of the mountain. Ahead only Chavanel remained as Mikel Nieve was first to try an attack. Shortly after ,the revelation Nairo Quintana tried the long attack with 13 km to go and he soon opened up a gap as Sky initially ignored his acceleration. Instead Sky with Kennaugh and soon after, Porte upped the pace slowly shedding the last remains of the contenders with the exception of Contador. At 7 km to go Froome himself launched a ferocious attack, hammering away in what looked like a seated sprint to leave Contador behind.

Froome soon found himself in a front duo with Quintana and the two looked fairly evenly matched with Quintana fending off the Sky-rider's first attempt to shake him off as they rode up the barren moon landscape in the final kms of the climb. A second hard acceleration shed the Colombian though and Froome could ride the final km solo to win with a margin of 29 seconds. Behind the riders finished one and one fairly predictably roughly in the order they held on GC. Joaquin Rodriguez attacked the group behind to take a fourth place, his best effort in the race so far for the rider who came here with big GC ambitions.

The riders now face a week of massive Alpine stages where the opponents will have to try some very aggressive tactics if they are going to put Froome in difficulties. After today Sky look to have the victory in this Tour though barring major mishaps.

Top 10 Stage:

1. GBRFROOME Christopher 1 SKY PROCYCLING 05h 48' 45''
2. COLQUINTANA ROJAS Nairo Alexander 128 MOVISTAR TEAM 05h 49' 14'' + 00' 29''
3. ESPNIEVE ITURRALDE Mikel 116 EUSKALTEL - EUSKADI 05h 50' 08'' + 01' 23''
4. ESPRODRIGUEZ OLIVER Joaquin 101 KATUSHA TEAM 05h 50' 08'' + 01' 23''
5. CZEKREUZIGER Roman 94 TEAM SAXO-TINKOFF 05h 50' 25'' + 01' 40''
6. ESPCONTADOR Alberto 91 TEAM SAXO-TINKOFF 05h 50' 25'' + 01' 40''
7. DENFUGLSANG Jakob 63 ASTANA PRO TEAM 05h 50' 28'' + 01' 43''
8. NEDMOLLEMA Bauke 164 BELKIN PRO CYCLING 05h 50' 31'' + 01' 46''
9. NEDTEN DAM Laurens 167 BELKIN PRO CYCLING 05h 50' 38'' + 01' 53''
10. FRAPÉRAUD Jean-Christophe 81 AG2R LA MONDIALE 05h 50' 53'' + 02' 08''

General Classification:

1. GBRFROOME Christopher 1 SKY PROCYCLING 61h 11' 43''
2. NEDMOLLEMA Bauke 164 BELKIN PRO CYCLING 61h 15' 57'' + 04' 14''
3. ESPCONTADOR Alberto 91 TEAM SAXO-TINKOFF 61h 16' 08'' + 04' 25''
4. CZEKREUZIGER Roman 94 TEAM SAXO-TINKOFF 61h 16' 11'' + 04' 28''
5. NEDTEN DAM Laurens 167 BELKIN PRO CYCLING 61h 16' 37'' + 04' 54''
6. COLQUINTANA ROJAS Nairo Alexander 128 MOVISTAR TEAM 61h 17' 30'' + 05' 47''
7. DENFUGLSANG Jakob 63 ASTANA PRO TEAM 61h 18' 05'' + 06' 22''
8. ESPRODRIGUEZ OLIVER Joaquin 101 KATUSHA TEAM 61h 18' 54'' + 07' 11''
9. FRAPÉRAUD Jean-Christophe 81 AG2R LA MONDIALE 61h 19' 30'' + 07' 47''
10. POLKWIATKOWSKI Michal 153 OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP 61h 19' 41'' + 07' 58''

Points competition:

1. SVKSAGAN Peter 11 CANNONDALE 377 pts
2. GBRCAVENDISH Mark 151 OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP 278 pts
3. GERGREIPEL André 24 LOTTO-BELISOL 223 pts

Mountains competition:

1. GBRFROOME Christopher 1 SKY PROCYCLING 83 pts
2. COLQUINTANA ROJAS Nairo Alexander 128 MOVISTAR TEAM 66 pts
3. ESPNIEVE ITURRALDE Mikel 116 EUSKALTEL - EUSKADI 53 pts

Young rider competition:

1. COLQUINTANA ROJAS Nairo Alexander 128 MOVISTAR TEAM 61h 17' 30''
2. POLKWIATKOWSKI Michal 153 OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP 61h 19' 41'' + 02' 11''
3. USATALANSKY Andrew 178 GARMIN - SHARP 61h 24' 15'' + 06' 45''
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