Froome Wins Mountain TT
Christopher Froome took the win in the tough TT over 32km with two category 2 climbs. Only the Spanish Alberto Contador and Joaquin Rodriguez came close to the yellow jersey.
One more time Christopher Froome showed his supremacy in this 100th Tour de France. It was his third stage win this year in the Tour and the second TT victory. Although it looked for a long time that Alberto Contador would win stage 17, a bike change of Froome made the difference. While Contador kept the same bike for the final descent, Froome , as well as other riders like TJ van Garderen, chose to change his bike and came from the position behind Contador into the winning position, gaining another 9 seconds on the Spaniard.
The top five changed. Mollema didn’t have the right legs and tumbled down from position two to position four, just besides the stage in Paris. He came in at 2 minutes and 9 seconds from Froome. On his expense team Saxo-Tinkoff did good business. Alberto Contador moved up to the second position and his team mate and helper Roman Kreuziger became the third man in the general classification.
Remarkable is the fighting mentality of Alberto Contador. Every blow dealt by Froome doesn’t seem to affect his mood. “Froome is impressive, but there are still two tough days. When you are second it is easier to get to the first place. Froome is very strong but with this great team around me , there are still several opportunities.”
Stage 18 is the ‘Queen Stage’ of this years’ Tour. The riders climb Alpe d’Huez not once but twice this year. The only stand in the way for this spectacle might be the weather. Bad weather is forecasted for the stage on Thursday and the organization has already told that when the weather is too bad, they will let the cyclists only climb the Dutch mountain once.
Although it has been twenty four years ago that a Dutch cyclist won the stage on the Alpe d’Huez (Gert-Jan Theunisse, 1989), the mountain is still called the Dutch mountain. That name is probably not anymore because of the eight Dutch victories on the Alpe, which all took place before 1990, but because of the thirty year long occupation of the mountain by Dutch cycling fans. Days before the cyclists ride the mountain the scene is already colored orange. Beer, Dutch, orange and red, white and blue is all you see, whatever weather is forecasted. Even this years’ expected thunder didn’t chase the Dutch from the mountain.
All hope is on Mollema and ten Dam on stage 18. Although both of them saw the distance to Froome increase, there is still a chance that their fans will bring them in a special power mood. "For sure Contador is going to attack and most likely we will see Quintana at the front, but if I have the legs I will try to stay with them," says Mollema.