In the aftermath of Team Sky’s powerful performance on the Tour de France’s first mountain stage, Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) suggested the race for the yellow jersey was already over.
"It’s early, but it looks like its going to be difficult to do anything about it," said the Dane referring to Team’s Sky’s hold on first and second on the general classification.
Chris Froome (Sky) and his teammate Richie Porte placed first and second on stage 8 to the Ax-3-Domaines ski station. By dint of time gained, they took a commanding GC lead too: Froome is 51 seconds ahead of Porte and 1min25sec ahead of Alejandro Valverde (Movistar). Fuglsang lies 17th – almost 3min30 behind Chris Froome (Sky).
"They [Team Sky] were by far the strongest today and they did an impressive ride," added Fuglsang.
"Richie was pulling really, really strong and I think he was the one who blew everyone into pieces."
Fuglsang – lacking team climbing support after Janez Brajkovic and Fredrik Kessiakoff retired through injury earlier this week – said he went into survival mode on the final climb to the Pyrenean ski station.
"On the first part I was trying to hang on there, but at one point I blew myself up a bit. Then it was all about surviving and trying to make my own pace," he said. "I had difficulty even holding the wheels of the guys who passed me."
Despite Sky’s apparent stranglehold on GC, Fuglsang said: "There are still a lot of guys who are going to fight for the secondary spots - the top five and the top ten. There will still be a bike race going on and I think the Spanish will see if they can conquer the Sky guys."