While on Friday his main competitors won time on Froome, he put everything back to order on Sunday when he won the stage to Mount Ventoux.
Friday was a very surprising stage. Stage 13, which was supposed to be a ‘boring’ one, became a thriller instead. It was well-known that the riders would encounter hard winds during the flat stage. Only a few teams saw the advantage of these hard winds.
At first Omega Pharma-QuickStep and Belkin pulled hard at the front of the peloton. This caused already huge breaks in the peloton and for ‘Omega’ this resulted in loosing Marcel Kittel in favor of Mark Cavendish. Belkin succeeded to put Valverde on a significant loss and to virtually put Bauke Mollema at the second position in the general classification.
When the first damage was done the team of Alberto Contador, Saxo-Tinkoff, took the lead. With six team mates they were driving like a team trial. They went so quick that only a handful of riders could follow them, among them Cavendish and Mollema. Cavendish won the final sprint and could celebrate his second victory of this years’ Tour.
Froome came in 1 minute and six seconds behind the attackers and lost so, a good minute to his main contenders Contador and Mollema.
Saturday was a stage with seven category 3 and 4 climbs. None of the sprinters was supposed to survive this fit enough to expect a mass sprint. It was rather expected that somebody or a group would attack and that was what happened.
Eighteen riders, all not positioned near the top ten, were allowed to break away and gained an advantage of about seven minutes. The room mate of Mark Cavendish, Matteo Trentin, was the strongest at the finish.
There was no change in the top ten and the main contenders for the general classification were probably all thinking about the ‘Giant of the Provence’ which they would have to climb in stage 15.
Stage 15, Mont Ventoux
With 242.5 km from Givors to Mont Ventoux, stage 15 was the longest stage of this year.
Although almost the whole stage was flat, at the end the riders had to climb the Mont Ventoux. This mountain, last present in the Tour of 2009, has a frightening sound for almost every rider. It was on this mountain that Tommy Simpson died back in 1967. The mountain also looks strange because it has almost no vegetation and looks like a moon-like landscape and it is the only big mountain in the direct environment. But the real fear is the long ascend of more than 20km with an average rise of 7.45%.
Froome, shows his class
The French got a spectacle at their ‘Quatorze Julliet’, but unfortunately for them there were no French riders involved. The spectacular rider in stage 15 was no one less then the English Chris Froome. He picked up several previous attackers and left them behind. Nobody could follow. Alberto Contador was for a while in his wheel but when Froome accelerated, Contador simply had to loose the wheel of the yellow jersey. Froome seemed to finish the stage together with Quintana, the Columbian climber, but in the last kilometer Froome proved also for Quintana one level too high. Well-deserved, the jellow jersey reached the finish first and only after 29 seconds Quintana could step from his bike.
Contador gave in 1 minute and 40 seconds, together with his teammate Roman Kreuziger and 3 seconds later the group with Bauke Mollema and Laurens ten Dam arrived.
Nothing changed in the top 5, only that Froome took more time on his rivals.
Second resting day
On Monday the riders can enjoy a resting day after one turbulent week of cycling. The resting day they better use very wise because until Friday they will stay in the Alps.