Friday, 22 July 2016
2016 Tour de France: Chris Froome wins TT – now untouchable?
Chris Froome produced a champion's ride yesterday in the mountain time trial beating second placed Tom Dumoulin by 21 second and taking more time on all of his GC rivals. Froome judged his effort perfectly by riding the first part relatively conservatively – down 23 seconds on Tom Dumoulin at the first time check. That reduced to 10 seconds at the 2nd check, while by the 3rd Chris was 13 seconds up. A swift descent into Mégeve extended his advantage to 21 seconds.
Among the other GC contenders Fabio Aru and Romain Bardet rode very good TTs conceding only 33 and 42 seconds respectively. Richie Porte also reclaimed time from his rivals, although he probably started out too fast. Nairo Quintana looked to be losing quite a lot of time initially but limited his losses toward the end of his ride, while closing up a little on Adam Yates and Bauke Mollema. However, Quintana still conceded a further 1'10 to Froome.
Froome now leads Bauke Mollema by 3'52, Adam Yates by 4'16 and Quintana by 4'37. He now has a comfortable lead and short of crashing or falling ill will wrap up his third Tour de France victory in Paris on Sunday. What remains is the fight for a place on the podium and positions within the top 10. Only 2'08 separates Mollema (3'52) in 2nd place from Aru (6'08) in 7th place.
Only two really racing stages remain for the GC contenders – today and tomorrow. Both are short, tough Alpine stages, which I assume will continue to be controlled by Sky making it difficult for the other GC riders to gain time on each other. Today's stage is the race's last mountain top finish, so it may turn out to be a war of attrition as Sky are very unlikely to permit Froome's rivals to escape. Although, nearly four minutes is a reasonable cushion it could still disappear in these two hard days that remain.