Chris Froome loses podium spot on “tough climb” to Lagos de Covadonga
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Sunday, September 02, 2012

Chris Froome loses podium spot on “tough climb” to Lagos de Covadonga

by Ben Atkins at 3:58 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
 
2011 runner up unable to compete as Spanish riders do battle on the final mountain

chris froomeChris Froome (Team Sky) lost his place on the 2012 Vuelta a España podium for the first time since stage four, as he was unable to match the pace of his three overall rivals on the final climb to Lagos de Covadonga. The British rider, who finished second in last year’s race - as well as July’s Tour de France - was tipped as one of the two outstanding favourites coming into the race, and was expected to do battle with Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) for the final red jersey.

While Contador has been missing his accustomed kick in the mountains - partly due to his recent return from suspension - Froome has been unable to keep up in recent days.

“It was a really tough climb today and I was definitely suffering out there,” he said after the stage. “I’m struggling against the Spanish riders in the mountains at the moment but I’m still trying to do as much as I can to stay up there.”

Froome started the day in third place - having slipped to third after losing 22 seconds to Contador in the stage 11 time trial - but was equal on time with Alejandro Valverde (Movistar). He lost 35 seconds to Valverde, Contador, and race leader Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha) in today’s stage however, and has slipped to fourth.

He now trails Rodríguez by 2’16”, with plenty more mountains to come in the race’s final week.

“I’m not sure where I’m going to end up but I’m going to keep giving the maximum effort possible, and if I can do that, I’ll be happy,” Froome said. “I still enjoy the atmosphere of the Vuelta more than the Tour. I enjoy the Spanish culture. Tomorrow is the last day of three really hard stages back to back, so it could be an interesting race in terms of fighting for the red jersey because Purito [Rodríguez] might be in trouble.

“I’ll try to make it up after losing a bit of time today.”

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