Thu, Jul 18, 2013 - Page 18 News List

Leader Froome comes close to disaster

TREACHEROUS DOWNHILL:Alberto Contador crashed as he rounded a right-hand corner, forcing Chris Froome to swerve around him off the road and onto the grass verge

AP, GAP, France

On Tuesday, touching their brakes caused wheels to slip, Porte said.

“All of us had a bit of a moment coming down there, losing the front wheel, back wheel,” he said.

Yet Contador was flying, with Froome in his wake.

Rounding a sharp right-hander, “the bike got away from me,” Contador said.

“It was really difficult. In normal conditions I wouldn’t have slipped like that, but it was very difficult terrain,” said the 2007 and 2009 champion, who was stripped of his 2010 title for a failed doping test. “Sometimes you have to go for it, whether it’s at the start or the end of a stage.”

Froome said Contador “was taking too many risks.”

“All teams are starting to get desperate now and they’re taking uncalculated risks,” he said. “In my opinion, it was a bit dangerous from Alberto to ride like that, it’s not good.”

Worryingly for Froome, there is worse to come. Today’s Stage 18 not only includes a double ascent to the ski station of Alpe d’Huez, with its 21 hairpin bends, but also a harrowing descent that several riders have voiced concerns about.

Having seen that Froome was not completely comfortable chasing after Contador on Tuesday, the risk now is that his rivals could try to unsettle him again on today’s downhill from Col de Sarenne.

“It is a very dangerous descent. The road surface is not great and there aren’t any barriers on the corners, so if you go over the corner, then you will fall down a long way,” Froome said. “It’s a dangerous descent and I hope the riders are aware of that, that they don’t take risks like they did today.”

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