Froome tames Alps’ hills to keep wearing yellow jersey
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.