Un­easy Froome keen to ex­tend over­all lead

Muscat Daily - - REGION -

Le Puy-en-Ve­lay, France - Chris Froome ad­mit­ted on Mon­day he wouldn't feel serene dur­ing Satur­day's time trial in Mar­seille, France, in the penul­ti­mate Tour de France stage un­less he can take more time out of his ri­vals be­fore­hand.

The stage 20 race against the clock will be the last op­por­tu­nity for any over­all con­tender to make a bid for the yel­low jersey.

And even though Froome is widely con­sid­ered a bet­ter time tri­al­ist than his ri­vals, and he cur­rently leads the race by 18 sec­onds from Fabio Aru, the Bri­ton said he'd want more of a buf­fer to feel gen­uinely se­cure.

"I wouldn't be sleep­ing easy (if that's the ad­van­tage he had on Satur­day). We al­ways knew it was go­ing to be a close race and that's ex­actly what it is," said the 32 year old reign­ing cham­pion.

"This was to be ex­pected and I knew that ev­ery stage, ev­ery sin­gle sec­ond is go­ing to count."

Three rid­ers cur­rently sit within 30 sec­onds of Froome - Aru at 18, Ro­main Bardet at 23 and Rigob­erto Uran at 29 - with fourth placed Dan Martin only one minute 12 sec­onds fur­ther back. But it is Uran who Froome fears most as the Colom­bian is usu­ally the best time tri­al­ist of the Sky team leader's clos­est com­peti­tors.

"Each ri­val presents dif­fer­ent threats. If you look at Fabio Aru, he won the first moun­tain-top fin­ish on the Planche des Belles Filles. Per­haps he didn't have such a good day a cou­ple of days ago, (but) he's been strong in the third week (of a Grand Tour) be­fore. We'll have to wait and see how he goes,” said Froome.

The Sky rider said, "Ro­main Bardet has al­ways been strong in the last week of a Grand Tour and he also has the team (AG2R) to back him up, as we saw yes­ter­day - he put me un­der a lot of pres­sure yes­ter­day and we re­ally had to use the whole team just to con­trol that sit­u­a­tion.

"Rigob­erto Uran may be more of the dark horse who just slips un­der the radar a lit­tle bit.

“He's prob­a­bly the strong­est time tri­al­ist of this group of GC [gen­eral clas­si­fi­ca­tion] rid­ers, so with Mar­seille in mind he's a big threat."

Chris Froome

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Oman

© PressReader. All rights reserved.