Froome accepts twenty second time penalty but moves closer to Tour de France win
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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Froome accepts twenty second time penalty but moves closer to Tour de France win

by VeloNation Press at 4:57 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
Illegal feed deemed worthwhile by weakened Maillot Jaune

Chris FroomeTour de France race leader Chris Froome lost time to the Colombian rider Nairo Quintana today, being dropped by the Movistar competitor and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) on the final climb of Alpe d’Huez and also incurring a twenty second time penalty.

However the Sky rider moved closer to a first Tour win when he built his overall lead over other challengers, with the closest of his GC rivals Alberto Contador losing 57 seconds and others slipping further back.

With those riders struggling early on, Froome put the boot in when he attacked on the lower slopes of Alpe d’Huez. Quintana and then Rodriguez were able to bridge, though, and after several kilometres it was the British rider who was in difficulty.

He and his team-mate Richie Porte tried to limit losses, but a dose of hunger knock meant he felt progressively weaker. He told Porte, who dropped back to the team car and brought an energy gel to him.

“Richie Porte is a really great guy. I mean, he put aside all his ambitions in this race to help keep the jersey on my shoulders and he did such a good job today – really fantastic,” said Froome afterwards, thanking his team-mate for his help. “He paced me through that whole climb basically. It was really hard to talk on that climb, there was just so much noise going through all those people so to be able to talk we had to get really close to each other but it was just talking to dictate what pace we should carry on at just to try and get through the stage.”

Feeding had already been stopped when Porte dropped back to the team car, took a gel and handed it to the Maillot Jaune. Froome admitted that they knew they were breaking the regulations at that point.

“I'm not sure about the technicality of the time penalty – if Richie is going to get it or if I'm going to get the penalty – but it's understandable,” he said. “I really felt that I needed those sugars in the final, so if it comes with a 20 second penalty, then I have to accept that.”

Asked to explain the action, he said there was an issue earlier on. “We had a little mechanical problem with the car a little bit further back and we weren't able to feed from the car before the climb. So at that point, I just thought, ‘Okay, we don't really have any other option...'

“With five kilometres to go we made the decision to try and get something, even though it's cost us another twenty seconds. If we look at the bigger picture here and what we've done, we've just extended our lead. If that's a bad day, I'll definitely take that.”

Both Froome and Porte were penalised twenty seconds for breaking the regulation, as well as each being fined 200 Swiss Francs.

Team Sky directeur sportif Nicolas Portal was given a 1000 Swiss Franc fine.

Meanwhile a number of riders’ bikes were weighed after the finish of the stage. At the time of writing, there have been no reports of any machines being under the 6.8 kilogramme weight limit.

The announcement of the check was surprisingly made prior to the final climb, theoretically early enough for anyone with issues to be able to change their machine.


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