Froome tames Alps’ hills to keep wear­ing yel­low jersey

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS - BY JAMEY KEATEN PRA LOUP, FRANCE

The speedome­ter clocked be­tween 50 and 60 kilo­me­tres per hour (30 to 37 mph) as the pine trees whipped by, and the riders leaned left to right and back again to ne­go­ti­ate the snaking, bumpy de­scent.

Win­ning the Tour de France isn’t only about hav­ing the abil­ity to get up­hill fast. You’ve got to have nerves of steel go­ing down­hill too.

Chris Froome proved Wed­nes­day that he’s got both.

The 30-year-old Bri­ton re­tained the leader’s yel­low jersey as the Tour sped to­ward its crescendo in the Alps.

The 17th stage in­cluded a har­row­ing 16-kilo­me­tre (10-mile) de­scent that dealt per­haps the fi­nal blow to Al­berto Con­ta­dor’s dis­tant hope of a third Tour vic­tory and doused the am­bi­tions of promis­ing French rider Thibaut Pinot for a stage win. They both lost time af­ter hit­ting the as­phalt on the way down from the treach­er­ous Al­los Pass.

Ger­many’s Si­mon Geschke won the stage by surg­ing out of a break­away bunch and keep­ing at bay An­drew Talan­sky of the U.S., who was sec­ond, by 32 sec­onds at the end of the 161-kilo­me­tre (100-mile) ride from Digne-Les-Bains to Pra Loup ski re­sort.

Fel­low Amer­i­can Te­jay van Garderen, who was third over­all as the stage be­gan, pulled out of the race with a headache and a lack of energy af­ter fight­ing a res­pi­ra­tory in­fec­tion for sev­eral days.

Froome emerged un­scathed in the first of four pun­ish­ing days in the Alps, staving off mul­ti­ple at­tacks from his top ri­vals.

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