Mont Ventoux Beats Contador

Mont Ventoux has become an icon of the Tour de France and Stage 15’s 242.5km from Givors to the bleak mountain finish did not go short of drama for the 100th edition of the race. Team Sky’s Chris Froome, brilliantly partnered by teammate Richie Porte, won the stage to solidly extend his lead in the General Classifications (and display some of the most impressive climbing legs of recent years) but the day was as much about the failure of Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s Alberto Contador as the success of Froome…


When Froome made his tactical move with 7km of hard work still ahead, Contador reacted in initially combative style but entirely failed to live up to expectations, his race falling to pieces beneath his pedals; ultimately he finished sixth – some 1minute 40seconds off pace. Post-stage he was in an analytical frame, commenting,  ‘I had enough trouble climbing in our pace as it were so ‘chapeau’ to him (Froome). There’s really not much more you can say. Froome is very strong. I’ve always been thinking about winning. That’s the goal but every day there is a face-to-face situation he takes even more distance. But we’ll see. In the Tour you never know what will happen until Paris. Now I just think about recovering and enjoying the rest day. Going for second position is secondary… It was a difficult stage. Especially because it was very fast throughout the first half. We rode at an incredible pace because teams like Europcar wanted to put someone in the break and they failed.’


When it came to the subject of the notorious mountain itself, Contador added, ‘We arrived at the foot of Mont Ventoux with 220 kilometers in the legs and with that pace we didn’t have much strength left. I was trying to follow Froome as I knew that he had to be more attentive to Quintana. He knew that he had a chance, because it was a single climb and in a face to face with the rest, he would have the advantage…  I don’t think anyone can beat Froome uphill unless he has a bad day but let’s see what happens in the Alps stages where several climbs may cause damage to his team. The Tour is not over until Paris although the overall difference is already big.’


Chris Froome’s domination on Ventoux came a day after the anniversary of the death of Tom Simpson on the climb in 1967 with the Team Sky rider commenting: ‘I think today has to be the most memorable and the biggest win I’ve had in my career so far – given that this is the 100th Tour de France. To win a stage like that, at the end of 242km of racing, with the crowds that were out on the road and the way the team delivered me to the climb; it was just a massive, massive victory for me… The team did a huge job in getting me to the climb in that first position.’


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