Re­laxed Froome not fazed about los­ing yel­low jersey to Martin

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT -

HAV­ING stayed safe on the treach­er­ous cob­ble­stones, Chris Froome cared lit­tle about con­ced­ing the race leader’s yel­low jersey to Tony Martin on Tues­day’s fourth stage of an ac­tion- packed Tour de France.

Af­ter

crash­ing out

of

last year’s race early, fol­low­ing three crashes in two days, Froome had good rea­son to be ner­vous given that this stage fea­tured seven sec­tions of cob­bles.

But the night­mare sce­nario never ma­te­ri­alised and the Bri­tish rider re­pelled the at- tacks of de­fend­ing Tour cham­pion Vin­cenzo Nibali as the valiant Ital­ian failed to claw back time on him.

“I wasn’t try­ing to show how strong I was on the cob­bles to­day; it was about stay­ing out of trou­ble,” Froome, the 2013 Tour cham­pion, said. “Con­grat­u­la­tions to Tony for his late at­tack.”

Re­lieved af­ter cruis­ing through the fi­nal paved sec­tion, Froome did not chase as the Ger­man rider peeled away some 3km ( 2 miles) from the line to clinch a fifth Tour stage win and take the yel­low af­ter nar­rowly miss­ing it on stage 1.

“While Tony’s a great time tri­al­ist, he’s not go­ing to be there in the moun­tains,” Froome said.

“I’m happy to see the jersey go to him rather than any of the big over­all ri­vals. This is the per­fect sit­u­a­tion for us.”

Fe­ro­cious side- winds in stage 3, a huge crash on stage 4 that took down 20 riders and put five out of the race and Tues­day’s cob­bles have pre­sented riders with a dan­ger­ous cock­tail of haz­ards. Froome has come through them with a healthy lead over his ri­vals.

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