Tour de France: Leader takes it easy before climb up Bald Mountain


Sky's Chris Froome had his first truly straightforward day as race leader yesterday as a break of 18, including Britain's David Millar, fought it out for the stage win – taken by Italy's Matteo Trentin – while the overall contenders eased back.

Surrounded by a phalanx of Sky team-mates, Froome rolled across the line in 22nd place, with his 2min 28sec lead over Holland's Bauke Mollema intact. During the 191km hilly stage to Lyon, for once the Briton was never under threat.

Looking ahead to today's crucial stage up the singularly hard Mont Ventoux, Froome was cautious about his chances, pointing out that he is fighting for a longer-term goal – winning in Paris overall – rather than risking everything for a possibly Pyrrhic victory on "the Bald Mountain" that might deplete his energy for the final week.

"Winning [there] would be a dream come true, but I'm sure that a lot of people will want to win it," Froome said cautiously, "I'm not the only one aiming for that."

Asked if he was looking forward to racing there for the first time, Froome responded with a smile: "A rest day would be nice. Instead we've got the Mont Ventoux, and after nearly 250 kilometres of riding" – the longest stage of the Tour – "it's going to be really hard.

"I have ridden up there, I know what's coming. It's one of the most difficult climbs out there. It'll take us about an hour to climb and it'll be a really epic day."

Froome and Team Sky had a much more structured stage yesterday as a break of 18 riders, none of them an overall threat, went clear with around 100km to go.

British fans had hopes that Millar might be able to repeat his solo stage win of 2012. He chanced his arm with a long-distance attack from the break around 25km to go, and when that failed was quickly dropped, indicating with a "cut-throat" gesture that he was completely exhausted.

France's Julien Simon soared away on a late ascent, opening up a gap of 12 seconds. But he was finally swept up by a dozen riders. Instead Italy's Matteo Trentin, a team-mate of Mark Cavendish, claimed the Belgian Omega Pharma-Quickstep squad's fourth stage win, and their second in as many days.

Today's stage

The assault of the 21km Mont Ventoux, one of France's most emblematic and toughest climbs, will either see Chris Froome reassert Sky's authority in the race with his second mountaintop stage win, or leave everything to play for in the final week in the Alps.

Alasdair Fotheringham

election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'