Tue, Jul 16, 2013 - Page 20 News List

Sky’s Froome tightens his grip on ‘maillot jaune’

AP, MONT VENTOUX, France

Contador rose out of his saddle and tried to match Froome’s acceleration, but he was gone. Commentators on French public television said they had never seen an attack like it.

“As Richie started coming to the end of his turn, I thought: ‘OK, now’s the time. I don’t want to start playing games, and sitting up and looking at each other,’” Froome said.

Soon, he was catching Quintana, who had ridden off ahead.

The crowds were huge, tens of thousands of strong, with spectators’ camping vans strung out like a long white necklace on the roadsides up to the summit. With less than 2km to go, Froome rose out of the saddle and accelerated again, leaving Quintana. He then pedaled solo to the line.

“He thought I was stronger than I was really feeling and that’s why he talked to me, telling we should keep pushing to leave Contador behind and he’d let me win the stage,” said Quintana, who rode in 29 seconds after Froome. “I knew it was a bit of ‘fake agreement,’ because I saw how strong he was and I had to fool him a bit to get that far into the climb.”

Froome has said he understands, given the doping marred-history of his sport, why there have been questions about his performances and says he is happy to answer them. Sky Pro Cycling boss Dave Brailsford said he expects renewed scrutiny following Froome’s Ventoux exploits.

“We have a great performance and 10 minutes later, you know, I jump for joy like this, and then 10 minutes later I guarantee you I’ll be answering all these questions and allegations of doping for the next few days,” Brailsford said.

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