Fri, Jul 22, 2016 - Page 16 News List

Froome dominance leaves Tour de France predictable

AFP, FINHAUT-EMOSSON, Switzerland

French sports newspaper l’Equipe ran a headline before Wednesday’s 17th stage of the Tour de France, reading: “At last the Alps”.

The inference was that the Alps would finally kick some life into a Tour that was becoming increasingly predictable and uneventful.

As it happened, the Alps brought nothing new or exciting to the three-week race, which seems to be as good as decided — Chris Froome has a third Tour crown all but wrapped up.

Briton Adam Yates, who is third overall, said as much after the 184.5km stage through the Swiss Alps.

“Obviously, Froome is pretty strong. In my opinion, he will be on the top spot of the podium in Paris,” Yates said.

When the group of favorites reached Wednesday’s final climb, Froome was surrounded by five teammates, hardly anyone else had more than one, and most of them not even that.

Once the climb reached its steepest and toughest slopes, Froome still had Wouter Poels and Mikel Nieve setting a tempo the other rivals were simply finding hard to follow.

Ireland’s Dan Martin did try to break away, but was soon brought back.

Richie Porte launched the one successful dig, which Nairo Quintana tried to follow, but could not.

In the end, it was Froome who set off after Porte, caught him easily and then rode in the Australian’s wheel to the line.

Quintana initially suggested that he had not given up hope, despite adding that it “was not a good day.”

Having seemingly been most worried about Quintana until now, Froome did suggest he thought that boat had sailed.

“For him to re-enter in the game again, he is going to have to do a great time trial,” Froome said.

It is not a Tour that is likely to live long in the memory, unless your name is Chris Froome.

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