Froome celebrating first Tour de France yellow jersey of his career
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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Froome celebrating first Tour de France yellow jersey of his career

by VeloNation Press at 2:31 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
Briton said that he and Team Sky will continue trying to gain time

Chris FroomeBlasting clear of the other general classification contenders on the climb to the summit finish of Ax 3 Domaines, Chris Froome showed he is ready to step up from his runner-up position in last year’s Tour de France. The Team Sky rider opened a gap after an earlier attack by Nairo Quintana (Movistar) was brought back by team-mate Richie Porte, then continued to build his advantage to the summit.

He hit the line 51 seconds ahead of Porte, with Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) a further seventeen seconds back in third.

Previous race winners Alberto Contador (Team Saxo Tinkoff), Andy Schleck (RadioShack Leopard) and Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team) finished between one minute 45 seconds and four minutes 13 seconds back, and have almost certainly lost any hope of winning the race.

“It wasn't easy out there but to come out with that result for the first mountain day – the first real test for the GC riders – it's really pleasing,” Froome said after the second Tour de France stage win of his career. “More than anything, the first GC day is a big psychological battle and we've won that.

“We've come away with first and second on the stage, first and second on GC. Richie Porte is right up there and it really is a dream scenario for us at the moment. We know there's a long way to go but we've started off really well at least.”

While he already took a stage in the 2012 race, winning at La Planche des Belles Filles, today was his first time to don the race’s Maillot Jaune. “I can't fully take in the idea of actually take it in yet. To be sitting here in the yellow jersey of the Tour de France is something I only dreamed of, so to be in that position... well, I couldn't ask for more. It feels very special,” he said.

Until the stage, things were tight in the general classification and most of his rivals were well within reach of taking over yellow from Daryl Impey (Orica GreenEdge). The final climb revealed who was in best shape, though, and the gaps are obvious.

Froome said that he didn’t expect to open such an advantage. “I was expecting more of a fight in the final today so I was quite surprised how we were able to come away with first and second and with the sort of time gaps that we see to the other GC riders,” he stated. “It's a long way from over but we can definitely take a lot away from today.”

“It's quite hard to take in but just to think that this is the pinnacle of our cycling calendar and to be here after being able to achieve such results today is wonderful. The team has come through the first week in such a good position and we're really happy.”

Holding a 51 second lead over Porte and a one minute 25 gap over Valverde, Froome is in a position where he doesn't have to attack. However he said that the team would continue aiming to gain time wherever it could.

“I think we've got to take advantage of every uphill finish and every GC day that there is. We've got the time trial coming up and this is really an ultimate position to be in. I feel really privileged to be here.”


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