In a split second, Chris Froome’s hopes of claiming a third Tour de France title hung in the balance.
His bike slid on the plain white line on a slippery descent toward the end of Friday’s 19th stage and the Briton got back up with cuts and bruises to his back, elbow and knee before taking his teammate Geraint Thomas’s bike for the final climb.
“Today shows exactly why [the Tour is not won before the finish line is crossed in Paris]. There is nothing seriously injured, but it could have gone either way,” said Froome, who led stage winner Romain Bardet of France by 4 minutes, 11 seconds going into yesterday’s last competitive stage.
Leading Dutchman Bauke Mollema, who cracked in the finale after also crashing, by 3 minutes, 52 seconds going into Friday’s 146km trek from Albertville proved crucial for Froome, as his massive advantage meant there was no need to panic.
When other rivals attacked in the 9.8km ascent to Le Bettex, Froome managed to respond, being brought back by his lieutenant, Wout Poels.
It is not the first time that Froome has looked vulnerable on the Tour this year.
On the 12th stage to Mont Ventoux, he crashed after former teammate Richie Porte collided into a television motorbike, running up the climb after his bike was broken in the incident.
However, the race jury ruled that he should not lose time over what organizers called an extraordinary incident.
“I am going to be stiff after today, but hopefully I can rely on my teammates,” Froome said.
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
ANOTHER SCANDAL: Searches focused on several riders, including Dayer Quintana, a source said, while the two being held were reportedly a doctor and physiotherapist French police on Monday detained two people as part of an investigation into suspected doping in the Arkea-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, prosecutors announced. The probe is the first significant one in several years for the repeatedly scandal-hit tour, which on Sunday wrapped up in Paris with a victory for 21-year-old Tadej Pogacar, who became the youngest winner in more than a century. Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in Marseille said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out into a “small part” of France-based Arkea-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody. Laurens added that the two
Former MLB pitcher Wang Wei-chung has signed the biggest contract with a local team in Taiwan’s professional baseball history, the Wei Chuan Dragons said yesterday. The 28-year-old left-hander signed a five-year US$2.08 million contract with the Dragons, team chairman Hsu Wen-fang told a news conference. It is the biggest contract in the CPBL’s 31-year history, surpassing a three-year, US$1.36 million deal Lin Chih-sheng signed in 2016 with the CTBC Brothers. Although the overall value of Wang’s deal set a new record, his average monthly salary of NT$990,000 (US$33,886) is lower than Lin’s pay of NT$1.2 million per month in 2017