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"Today we were really missing Edvald who crashed out yesterday breaking his shoulder. He could have been someone today who could have really helped us to keep at the front of the race," Froome says

Photo: A.S.O.








12.07.2013 @ 19:44 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Chris Froome (Sky) did certainly not get the easy day in the saddle that most had expected in today's almost completely flat Tour de France stage to Saint-Armand-Montrond. Having lost Edvald Boasson Hagen due to a crash, the Brit was unable to get into the front echelon when Saxo-Tinkoff put down the hammer, and the race leader missed his Norwegian teammate on a day where he ended up losing 1.09 to Alberto Contador (Team Saxo-Tinkoff).


Yesterday Chris Froome told reporters that the late crash had reminded him that every stage could be dangerous and those words could not have been more true. 24 hours later he was caught out when Saxo-Tinkoff attacked in the crosswinds on a stage that should have been a highly predictable affair for the sprinters.


Having made the first selection when Omega Pharma-Quick Step put down the hammer with more than 100km to go, the Brit did not make the cut when Saxo-Tinkoff tried a similar move with 31km to do. Despite the best efforts from his teammates Ian Stannard, Peter Kennaugh, Kantsantsin Siutsou and Geraint Thomas, the Danish team gradually opened up a solid gap and at the finish, Froome had lost 1.09 to Alberto Contador, Roman Kreuziger, Bauke Mollema and Laurens Ten Dam.


Afterwards, Froome reminded everyone of his statements yesterday.


“I desperately wanted to get on to the Contador move but I was sitting a little too far back," he said. "I was just behind Cav's [Cavendish's] wheel when he sprinted across. I think he was the last guy to get across and again it's another reminder that this race is 100 per cent open and that there is still everything to race for."


"I was feeling quite comfortable but when that split went the first 12 guys made it in there and anything further back than that and it was too late. It was a tough day on the legs but it wasn't easy for anyone out there I hope."


Despite the time loss, Froome is still 2.28 ahead of Mollema in second and thus has a healthy advantage.


“I knew I had a really good buffer already – almost four minutes on Contador," he said. "And okay, I worked really hard to get that time gap but you can't win them all. Having a lost a minute there in the final, that's always a bitter pill to swallow because we've worked really hard already to get the advantage that we had and now some of that is gone...”


Edvald Boasson Hagen should have been a key member of the team on the flat stages but the Norwegian did not start today's stage, having fractured his right scapula yesterday. Froome was convinced that his teammate would have provided handy assistance today.


“It was a really tough day," he said. "I don't think anyone was expecting it to be this hard. On paper it was a flat day and it should have been a bunch sprint but with those crosswinds it definitely made the race a lot more exciting. Today we were really missing Edvald who crashed out yesterday breaking his shoulder. He could have been someone today who could have really helped us to keep at the front of the race."

“The challenge for us now is to defend the yellow jersey all the way to Paris with myself and six riders. It'll help make it an exciting race and we're up for it. We're definitely still going to try."

"We've got a lumpy stage to come before we get to Mont Ventoux on Sunday so it's going to be an exciting week of racing."

Stannard took consolation in the fact that Froome still has a solid gap on his rivals.


"We lost just over a minute which was disappointing, but we had a big gap on Contador going into the stage and we've still got a good gap going into the Alps so we're still confident," he said. "We were just having a moment to regroup when Saxo-Tinkoff attacked and it's obviously disappointing but Chris is still 2:28 seconds ahead so we're still looking good.""

Since its collapse on the final Pyrenean stage, Sky had come under some criticism due to its apparent lack of ability to support its captain. With only 7 riders left, team principal David Brailsford knew that it was always about limiting the losses until the peloton hits the terrain that really suits Froome.


“I think we expected to be attacked," he said. "Everybody knew there were going to be cross-winds out there. Our view with seven riders was to limit any losses. The lads just got caught out, but credit to Saxo-Tinkoff. We know what Mick Rogers is like – we rode with on the Tour team last year and he’s a great tactician. He took the initiative at the right moment and credit to them. It’s proving to be a great race this year."


 “We have to be acutely aware tactically of positioning and where the guys are at," he added. "We need to concentrate all the time. Let’s see what happens when the race goes uphill again. There’s also the second time trial. There are opportunities to gain time and then there’s opportunities to minimise time loss. At the minute you don’t know which way it’s going. But in many respects I think it’s fantastic for the race. It’s finely balanced and whoever is going to win this race deserves to win it.”

Froome hopes to get a calmer day in tomorrow's lumpy stage to Lyon and then he hopes to bounce back on Sunday when the peloton is set to climb the mighty Mont Ventoux.


Starting at 14.00, you can follow tomorrow's stage on



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