But the Briton came through a fraught stage of racing unscathed and feeling "better" than he had done earlier in the Giro d'Italia.
Froome was watched by an unusually large crowd of tifosi and an unusually small number of journalists as he did his usual post-stage warm down, with the unfolding story of Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott) plummet down the GC rankings attracting the bulk of the Giro media's attention.
After his tough first nine stages, Froome felt that the Giro's longest day had gone well for him, despite the intensity of the racing. "Better, better," he said in Italian as he dismounted from his warm-down and headed for the team bus.
Speaking briefly to reporters beforehand, Froome said: "It was a very hard stage, everybody was feeling fresh and there was a lot of action at the start of the day.
"But I'm pleased that I was in the front group, and finally the only guy that lost time was Esteban [Chaves]. It was a tough day, and that's racing."
Overall, Froome has now moved back into the top 10 following Chaves' dramatic fall down the GC rankings. But he has lost a little more time, dropping to 2:30, on race leader Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) after his fellow Briton snatched a three-second time bonus in a hot spot sprint.
At Wednesday's steep uphill finish in Osimo, Froome, like all the other GC challengers, will face another short, but harsh, test of their climbing strength.
Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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