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TdF #8: Froome takes command

July 7, 2013

After a week of avoiding trouble, Froome and his team took over the 100th Tour de France when the race entered the high mountains. Two long and hard climbs, with a difficult fast descent and a summit finish saw Froome show why he is the clear favourite to win in Paris.

Despite losing some of the team quite early, Sky kept a decent pace on the longer HC climb and did not worry too much about the early attacks. Quintana looked superb on this climb and floated on wings up the hill. Other moves by Voeckler and Gesink were ineffective and they soon cracked. Sky kept a leash on Quintana though and he was no more than a few seconds ahead at the highest point. He was also shaky on the descent and lost a few more seconds. Rolland caught him towards the bottom of the descent, but then blew up as soon as the road went up hill again.

A final push by the very impressive Kennaugh had Quintana in sight and Sky in complete control. Froome’s competitors were dropped one by one on the final climb. Froome then launched an attack with over 4km to go. No one could hold on and he disappeared up the hill. Froome may not by the most graceful of climbers, but he is definitely effective. A superb victory and he has put so much time into everyone, that he could hold yellow for the rest of the race.

Six of my favourites are now in the top ten. Evans, Moreno, and Rolland lost more than four minutes. Hesjedal looked uncomfortable all day and lost more than eight. All four will have to much better days to have a hope of seeing the podium.

There were plenty of other pre-race hopefuls losing lots of time. Only ten riders finished within two minutes of Froome. The likes of Schleck, Zubeldia, Pinot, Navarro and Van Garderen may already be too far back to contest this year’s race.

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