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Froome warns against complacency ahead of Semnoz

Barry Ryan
July 19, 2013, 19:25,
July 19, 2013, 20:26
Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, July 19, 2013
Tour de France
Chris Froome (Sky) endured another eventful day in the Tour, but no serious attack

Chris Froome (Sky) endured another eventful day in the Tour, but no serious attack

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Sky rider moves another step closer to Tour de France victory

Chris Froome (Sky) inched closer to a Tour de France victory that has appeared inevitable for nigh on two weeks when he comfortably defended his yellow jersey over five mountain passes on the road to Le Grand-Bornand on Friday.

Such has been Froome's dominance at this Tour that his one crisis to date – the dreaded fringale on Alpe d'Huez – could scarcely be turned into a drama, for even in his weakened state, he still divested the race of further suspense by adding more time to his overall lead on Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff).

Saxo-Tinkoff were again aggressive in setting the pace on stage 19 to Le Grand-Bornand but Contador never followed through with the anticipated fireworks on the final climb of the Col de la Croix-Fry, and Froome finished safely alongside Contador, Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) to maintain his buffer of 5:11 with just two days remaining.

"I'm really relieved to have this stage behind me," Froome said. "I was quite nervous about it and it was very tough to be there. There was more than 4,500 metres of climbing, it was a very hard day and the objective was to remain on the wheels and stay in control."

Criticised for their capitulation in the face of Garmin-Sharp and Movistar's collective forcing on a similarly demanding day in the Pyrenees, Sky held firm through the early exchanges on Friday, with Geraint Thomas setting tempo for Froome on the Glandon and Madeleine.

By the time the yellow jersey group reached the base of the Col de la Croix-Fry, however, Froome had only Richie Porte left for company, but the Sky pairing were untroubled by Saxo-Tinkoff's forcing, while Froome himself was able to cover the accelerations of Rodriguez and Quintana near the summit.

"It was a tough stage today but Chris had a good day. He recovered from his hunger flat yesterday and I think he's in a good position," Porte said on crossing the finish line.

For his part, Froome reluctantly acknowledged that it is nigh on unthinkable that he could find a way to fritter away an advantage in excess of five minutes on the final mountain stage to Semnoz on Saturday.

"Having five minutes of an advantage is a really good position to be in but let's not be too complacent," he protested. "It would be very hard for anybody to take five minutes on me in the last stage, but I will need to stay focused. There'll be one final big effort and then we'll be able to relax a little."

While the attacks on his yellow jersey will end atop Semnoz on Saturday afternoon, Froome must be aware that the debate surrounding his performances will continue to endure. His Sky team released selected performance data from the past two years to L'Équipe on Thursday and Froome said that he accepted the scrutiny.

"I'm completely understand that it's normal to be in this position with the yellow jersey and I accept that I'm put under this level of scrutiny," Froome said. "It comes with the yellow jersey and I think it would be the same for whoever held it."

While wearers of the yellow jersey normally talk dreamily about the inspirational effects of the famous garment, it was interesting that Froome admitted to occasional struggles for motivation as he draws closer to Paris with a sizeable margin of safety.

"Mentally, it's hard to keep that up, it's hard to wake up every morning still motivated and hungry to look for more seconds," he said. "I think I've had yellow since stage 8, it's a long time. The biggest challenge has been staying mentally fresh every day when there was so far to go in the Tour."

deemfingtee More than 1 year ago
Sorry, Froome may be a better 'leader' but Wiggins is the man.
junkie More than 1 year ago
At the very least sir Brad is not a tactical moron who has to be on the radio non-stop.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Man, my friends, is the one from the Isle of Mann. Notice that he has left the soulless British team and rides now with a team of Men from the Land That Cares About Bike Racing. Why does Froome still, even now that he is winning the Tour, seem to be thinking about something else? He seems depressed, as if he is silently grieving some great long-ago loss.
Hansie More than 1 year ago
And where is the " man" `? Wiggins could never have won this tour...he always needed so much support of his team while Froome can overcome any attack from any team or rider by his own (although Porte has been a great support)
Tochukwu Onwueme More than 1 year ago
Porte! a super domestique.
blemcooper More than 1 year ago
Yeah, I have to think that Riis is really sorry to have lost Porte to Sky. Still, Kreuziger has been a good pick up.
welker3257 More than 1 year ago
Of course Wiggins couldn't win this tour. He his not suited to this year's route. Wiggins is a time trialist who can climb well enough to limit his losses in the big mountains. Wiggins is like Jan Ulrich and doesn't have much of a punch and needs a pacemaker in front of him. Froome and Wiggo are completely different riders.
Jose A. Alvarez More than 1 year ago
Every rider knows that the Tour de France officially ends in Paris, but every smart rider and fan knows that the race for the final podium positions are decided on the next to last stage of the Tour. Chris Froome, with over 5 minutes advantage over Contador, should not feel threaten. Now, Contador, Quintana, Kreuziger and Rodriguez are only separated by 47 seconds. Second and third place in Paris are there for the taking. The final 10,7 kms up Annecy-Semnoz should bring us some fireworks. One final note, Porte should be Sky's #1 man in the Tour within a year or two. He has been nothing short of amazing help to Froome; just like Fromme was to Wiggins.
dave bonner More than 1 year ago
Lets not take anything away from either rider. They are both fantastic. Wiggins has a incredible record, with multiple worlds and olympics. Froome has proved himself in Grand tours. Lets respect them both and enjoy the racing without negativity
Bathroadster More than 1 year ago
Good words Dave, they are different animals, respect to both of them!!
wrinklyvet More than 1 year ago
Wiggins' own Tour de France win was a great milestone for Sky and the country. Despite the probability that he could not repeat it on a parcours like this one, he proved it was possible for a Brit to win. Never been done previously. Hats off to him! In my book Froome was just a bit naughty last year with his brief attack on Wiggins. He has redeemed himself with this year's ride on his own account. Porte has excelled, and has not made any similar false move against his leader. It helps that he and Froome are obviously great buddies.
ellenbrook2001 More than 1 year ago
uhuhuhuuh FROOM would never win the TOUR without PORTE when CADEL wont it he did himself ,so that good too know FROOM hes clean even come close too all the record in MOUNT VENTOUX if FROOM was with LANCE now even LANCE be on dope FROOM would still beat him amazing that Kenyan hes a super men???????
Chris Todgers More than 1 year ago
are you on dope?
Rob Alan More than 1 year ago
absolutely clueless
wigvelo More than 1 year ago
why dont you say something positive about cycling for a change?
movingtarget More than 1 year ago
Froome has been very good but there is no doubt that he has the best domestique in the world working for him.Porte has been as good as Froome in his role. It will be very interesting to see how Nibali goes in next year's Tour and with Schleck back in better shape and the Colombians improving, next year's Tour on paper should be even better. I would be surprised if Contador won another Tour and I think he will ride the Giro next year.
wrinklyvet More than 1 year ago
The other team members who did their bit and then dropped back should not be overlooked. Porte has been able to contribute so much because the responsibility earlier on in each stage has been taken by the other team members.
movingtarget More than 1 year ago
Of course it's a team effort but Porte's role is critical cause most of the attacks happen at the end of the stage.
wrinklyvet More than 1 year ago
Yes, granted. I don't disagree. He's been brilliant.