Tour de France 2016: Chris Froome extends overall lead in somber stage

by Steven Clarke July 20, 2016, 5:41
Tour de France 2016: Chris Froome extends overall lead in somber stage

The victor of the stage could well be one of the top ten rider's now in the Tour; or it could be someone like Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) or Tony Martin (Etixx-Quickstep) who are renowned time-triallist's, but if Froome is feeling good and feeling hard done by it could well be a stage for Sky's leader to lay down a marker.

Dutchman Tom Dumoulin won the stage in 50 minutes and 15 seconds, with Froome clocked in 51 minutes and 18 seconds.

Yates had expected to lose time on this stage and duly gave up nearly two minutes to Froome as he finished 18th, at least better than the four minutes the Orica-BikeExchange rider predicted.

But Froome, 31, put significant time between himself and his main rivals such as Nairo Quintana, who dropped to fourth overall almost a second under three minutes.

The time trial took place in a subdued atmosphere with a heavy police presence following the terrorist attack in Nice.

Amid reinforced security a day after the deadly attack in Nice, the Tour de France rolled on and defending champion Chris Froome extended his overall lead on Friday. After discussing it with authorities, Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme announced on Friday morning that the show would go on with heightened security.

"Doing a TT after 12 days already in the Tour de France against a lot of guys who are suffering every day - I'm not suffering every day - is very different than shining on a one-day event", Dumoulin said.

In a complete embarrassment for race organizers on Bastille Day, Richie Porte crashed headfirst into a motorbike carrying a television camera and Froome, who was right behind his former teammate, also hit the pavement in the final kilometer on the wind-shortened climb to Mont Ventoux.

It had not been known if Froome had suffered any injuries in the incident, but there was little sign of that as he turned in a strong Friday ride to increase his advantage.

"I couldn't sleep yet and now read about something more important than the Tour", Mollema wrote on Twitter. "My deepest sympathies go out to the affected families".

Yates had expected to lose time on this stage and duly gave up nearly two minutes to Froome, at least better than the four minutes he predicted. I will try to attack like I've always done. "It's where I do most of my training", said Froome, who wore a black armband to his news conference. "Horrific scenes. Definitely puts things into perspective for us".

"It's a special place for me, near to where I'm based, and I just can't imagine what those people are going through down there".

Joining the overall leader and stage victor in the only ceremony held after Friday's time trial (organizers did not hold the usual separate jersey presentations) were Yates, in the best young rider white jersey; Belgian Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) in the polka dot top climber jersey; and Slovakian Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) in the green points jersey.

"Today, we want to pay homage to the victims with dignity", Prudhomme said, while holding back tears.

"We asked questions of ourselves, effectively".

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