Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 15th 2015 Contents There are still two more climbing days
in the Pyrenees, followed by ascents in the
Alps. With 11 stages still to go to the finish
in Paris, Froome rightly pointed out that
the race is far from done. But riding like
this, it s hard to see anyone catching him
unless he crashes, gets sick or has a dis-
Yesterday s final 15-kilometre (9-mile)
climb, his Sky team also showed itself to
be the strongest climbing outfit, which will
help protect Froome on future ascents. With
Porte second at the summit and Thomas
sixth, Sky was the only team with three
riders in the stage s top ten.
Spectators who cycled up in the morning
lined the road that snakes to an altitude of
1,610 metres (5,280 feet), in a moonscape
of grey rocks and ski runs long devoid of
snow. In cycling parlance, the climb is "Hors
Categorie"---so tough it defies categoriza-
The 167 kilometres (104 miles) ridden in
4 hours 22:07 by Froome, from Tarbes in
the foothills, took the Tour through plunging
valleys of great beauty with buzzards flying
overhead. It also took riders past a reminder
of the worst human ugliness: a concentra-
tion camp used by the pro-Nazi Vichy gov-
ernment during World War II to lock up
Jews later deported to death camps.
The arduous climb and searing summer
temperatures were a rude awakening for
riders coming off their first rest day Monday,
following the Tour s east-to-west swing
over nine stages from the Netherlands
through Belgium and across northern
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, July 15, 2015
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LA PIERRE-SAINT-MARTIN---Over the earpiece
tucked below his helmet, Chris Froome s team sent
word that his panting Tour de France rivals were
struggling in the thinning air of the high Pyrenees,
on the first skyward climb of this year s race.
Clearly, they were having a bad day. So Froome
decided to make it even worse.
Reprising the formula that carried him to victory
in 2013, Froome barked an order to three teammates
leading him up the punishing ascent: speed up. Shat-
tered by the fierce uphill pace, trailing riders scattered
behind them, their bluffs called and hopes dashed.
The first A-lister to crack was none other than
last year s champion, Vincenzo Nibali. Sweat beading
off his chin, the Sicilian was cooked. The biggest
high-profile loser of Stage 10 shed more than 4 min-
utes to Froome, all but ending his Tour defence.
Next, Alberto Contador dropped from the by-
now shriveled group of the Tour s hardiest, most
pain-resistant climbers. The 2007 and 2009 cham-
pion zigzagged across the steep tarmac as Froome s
trusty lieutenant Richie Porte applied yet more speed.
That doomed the Spaniard s chances of adding the
2015 Tour to the Giro d Italia title he won in May.
Two down, one major rival to go. Froome took
down Nairo Quintana himself. Rising from his saddle
with six kilometres (four miles) still to climb to the
La Pierre-Saint-Martin ski resort, Froome accelerated
away, head down, legs pumping. The bill for Quintana,
who rode in third behind Froome and Porte at the
top, was very costly: 1 minute and ten seconds lost
overall to the British race leader, who is now firmly
in control of cycling s showcase race.
"When we got up onto that last climb and we
heard the big names that were struggling and getting
dropped ... I turned to the guys who were still with
me at that point---it was Wouter Poels, Richie Porte
and Geraint Thomas---and just said, Guys, come on
let s on push on here. We ve got them in trouble, "
"I couldn t have asked for it to go any better."
For his rivals, it couldn t have been much worse.
"Froome has landed a hammer blow on the Tour,"
said Nibali, the Astana team leader now a whopping
6:57 behind Froome overall in tenth place. "I have
no more to give. I m not even the younger brother
of the Nibali from last year."
Closest to Froome is still Tejay van Garderen, the
American leader of the BMC team. But he s 2 minutes,
52 seconds behind overall. Quintana, runner-up to
Froome in 2013, trails by 3:09, in third. Contador
slipped back to sixth overall, 4:04 behind.
TOUR DE FRANCE
Froome uses high mountains to take control
Britain's Christopher Froome, wearing the overall
leader's yellow jersey, celebrates as he crosses the
finish line to win the tenth stage of the Tour de
France cycling race over 167 kilometres (103.8 miles)
with start in Tarbes and finish in La Pierre-Saint-
Martin, France, yesterday. AP PHOTO
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