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Sky not worried about team strength to support Froome at Tour de France

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Team Sky took control of the race on stage 8

Team Sky took control of the race on stage 8 (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Chris Froome (Sky) on the podium

Chris Froome (Sky) on the podium (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Chris Froome (Sky) in action during stage 13

Chris Froome (Sky) in action during stage 13 (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Sky directeur sportif Servais Knaven said he isn't concerned about the team's ability to support Chris Froome's yellow jersey campaign during the rest of this year's Tour de France.

That's despite the Briton appearing isolated and conceding more than a minute to GC rivals at the finish of today's crosswind-affected stage.

Froome's GC lead was eroded in Saint-Amand-Montrond when Saxo-Tinkoff Bank prized a 14-strong group off the yellow jersey bunch with 30km to race.

Despite work by Sky teammates Ian Stannard, Geraint Thomas and Kanstantsin Siutsou to reverse the deficit, Froome ultimately crossed the line without teammates and 1:09 lost to Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff Bank) and Bauke Mollema (Belkin).

The team is also down to seven men after losing Vasil Kiryienka to the time cut on stage 9 and Edvald Boasson Hagen yesterday through a crash and subsequent fractured shoulder blade.

"We are not worried, but of course a minute is a minute," said Knaven after today's 173km stage.

"Everybody forgets that we had seven guys in the first group so they were all there. Some of the seven are not really specialists in the crosswinds but they were there."

Asked if the team had anticipated crosswinds, Knaven said: "Yesterday we expected it, today we were aware. It can always happen and when there's one team that wants to do it, they can.

"Today QuickStep had the plan and they went for it. That made the race really tough especially with the open roads and a lot of crosswinds.

"We are not worried about the team's capabilities, but if you see the breakaway at the end with seven [six - ed.] Saxo Bank riders really going for it, and if you only have a few left behind in the peloton then it's pretty hard but that's normal."

It is the second time in the race Froome has crossed the line on a crucial stage without teammates around him. On stage 9, the second high mountain stage in the Pyrenees, Froome was forced to fend for himself among a select group of Movistar, Saxo-Tinkoff Bank and Belkin riders.

Sam started as a trainee reporter on daily newspapers in the UK before moving to South Africa where he contributed to national cycling magazine Ride for three years. After moving back to the UK he joined Procycling as a staff writer in November 2010.