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Froome goes into the final time trial in third overall

Photo: Sirotti






02.05.2015 @ 21:42 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Chris Froome showed great heart and determination to retain third place overall at the Tour de Romandie following a thrilling queen stage.


The Brit looked to be in difficulties on the early slopes of the final climb to Champex-Lac but dug deep, setting his own tempo before returning to the head of affairs in the closing stages.


Seventh across the line in a small group of favourites, Froome rode hard in the final kilometres to limit the time gap to both stage winner Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha).


Pinot chipped clear with 5km to go, elevating himself to second overall, while Zakarin, who came home seven seconds behind the Frenchman, did enough to move himself into a slender race lead.


Finishing alongside Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Simon Spilak (Katusha), Roman Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo), Froome now sits 14 seconds off the yellow jersey heading into Sunday's deciding 17.3km time trial.


The situation had looked like it could have been worse for Froome who, exposed and without team-mates, repeatedly made his way back to the front amid a barrage of attacks.


Both Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Rigoberto Uran (Etixx - Quick-Step) watched Froome edge his way back to the front before losing time themselves, dropping 53 seconds at the finish.



Pouring rain again greeted the riders on a tough 162.7km mountain stage featuring no less than four first-category climbs.


Team Sky set an early pace and the peloton was relaxed as two riders - Maxim Belkov (Katusha) and Bryan Naulleau (Europcar) - were afforded over nine minutes up the road.


Lampre-Merida arrived at the front alongside Team Sky on the Col des Mosses, and on the next climb of Les Giettes it was Astana who set the pace.


As more teams got involved, overnight leader Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge) began to slip back each time the terrain ramped up, eventually losing touch on La Petite Forclaz.


Froome became isolated and began to slip to the back of the group on the final climb. A significant dig from Quintana with 7km saw Froome distanced, necessitating a spirited fight back before finishing strong.



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