Tour de France 2013: Chris Froome ‘took a right hook on Sunday but he did not flinch’

Brailsford impressed with Tour leader but  admits Sky may leave him exposed again

With the Tour de France

Dave Brailsford, Team Sky’s director, has warned it will be impossible to be sure that his team do not suffer a  repeat of Sunday’s collective collapse in the Pyrenees over the next two weeks – although Chris Froome continues in the lead –  before the Tour de France reaches Paris on 21 July.

Speaking at a press conference on the Tour’s first rest day with  Froome and the Sky squad, Brailsford said: “I can’t guarantee it won’t happen. There is strong opposition out there, there are mountain stages and time trials to come, a real war, and we’ll try and adapt to how it comes.”

After a crushing defeat of the opposition on Saturday at Ax 3 Domaines, with Froome taking the lead on the race’s first summit finish, on Sunday it was a very different story for Sky. Froome was isolated from his team after Spanish rivals Movistar went on the attack on the first of five climbs, with team-mate Richie Porte dropping out of second place overall and losing over 18 minutes, climber Vasil Kiryienka forced to abandon the race after he finished outside the time limit and the entire squad slumping from second to 12th in the team classification.

“On the first day we went on the  offensive and on the second everybody else did,” Brailsford said of the two Pyrenean stages. “We were on the back foot, but only as a team. To use boxing terminology, Chris took a right hook on that day, but he didn’t flinch.”

“An angry peloton threw everything they had at us,” added Porte, before explaining his disastrous stage on Sunday. “Anybody who’s been a bike racer knows that you have good and bad days, and a lot of it [racing] is about minimising those days.”

Brailsford recognised that Sky’s slump in performance and need to raise their game again represented “a test of our competitive spirit”. Continuing with his sporting analogies, he added: “In football a top side wins a lot of games but you sometimes get a thrashing. You can’t expect us to win it all easily, the whole  idea of sport is about how you react to a challenging situation.”

Brailsford said that the team had “discussed strategies, learnt some lessons  – you always learn more from defeats than victories – to take forward into the rest of the race.” He refused, however, to spell out what those strategies might be.

Brailsford highlighted Froome’s mental resilience when handling the pressure of being isolated on a mountain stage with 60 rivals as one plus for Sky from Sunday’s stage. But another element of leading the Tour is handling questions in the light of cycling’s murky doping past – and here also Brailsford said he was impressed by Froome.

“It’s only fair he’s asked challenging questions, that’s part of his job,” he said. “He’s very concerned  people understand his career won’t be looked at [in the future] as something that may have to have its results rubbed out from the record books.”

 



Yesterday the French former trainer Antoine Vayer claimed in Le Monde that the Briton’s climb up Ax 3 Domaines was almost equal in power output to that of the disgraced Tour winner Lance Armstrong in 2003. Froome, responding to more general questions about doping in the press conference, said, as he had done on Saturday: “Some great performances in the past have been linked to doping but I know I will never be stripped of my results.” That was Armstrong’s fate last winter.

Looking at the positive benefits of the weekend’s racing, Brailsford claimed that Froome’s position overall, with an advantage of one minute 25 seconds over Alejandro Valverde in second place was a good one, particularly with a time trial finishing at Mont Saint-Michel coming up tomorrow that favours the Briton over the Spaniard.

Two floors above, in a parallel press conference, Alberto Contador, the double Tour de France winner and named by Froome as his key rival, said that despite a stinging defeat on Saturday he planned to fight on.

“Up until now, Froome has been very strong but I will try and do something,” Contador said. “Everyone’s legs are hurting, but if you don’t think you can succeed you never will. I’m also always strongest in the third week in a major Tour. I will have to take a few risks.”

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Voices
Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and David Cameron appeal to the audience during the Question Time special
voices
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
News
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Sport
football
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
News
The Mattehorn stands reflected in Leisee lake near Sunnegga station on June 30, 2013 near Zermatt, Switzerland
news
News
Michelle Dockery plays Lady Mary in Downton Abbey
peopleBut who comes top of the wish list?
News
Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, right, with Lib Dem candidate Jane Dodds in Newtown, Powys, as part of her tour in support of the party’s female candidates
general electionNick Clegg's wife has impressed during the campaign
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living