Thursday 21 November 2019

Froome takes control after stage 15 win as Martin remains in 11th

Chris Froome
Chris Froome

Ian Parker

Chris Froome put his name in Tour de France history today with victory on the famed Mont Ventoux.

The Team Sky rider kicked away from Nairo Quintana as they passed the memorial to Tom Simpson, the first ever Briton to wear the yellow jersey, who died on the ascent during the 1967 Tour.

The victory on the Bastille Day stage, a 242.5 kilometre run from Givors, saw Froome extend his overall lead in the race with a brilliant ride on the 'Beast of Provence'.

He finished 30 seconds ahead of Quintana but even more importantly saw his main rival Alberto Contador cross one minute 40 seconds later, with Bauke Mollema even further back.

"Every cyclist would dream of winning a stage like this," Froome said. "It really is amazing.

"This has to be the biggest win of my career. The way my team-mates rode to bring me to the climb, they gave 110% of their energy to help me keep the yellow jersey and I have to do the same to repay them.

"This is massive. Everyone wanted to win today on Bastille Day on top of Mont Ventoux."

The 1,912 metre high mountain is one of the most feared climbs in world cycling, an ascent tackled for only the 15th time in Tour history today, with only the 10th finish at the barren summit.

"This is an extremely historic climb and to have won up here knowing the names who have won before me is really quite special," Froome added.

Froome is only the second man to take victory on Mont Ventoux while wearing the yellow jersey, with the great Eddy Merckx the other.

"I didn't know that," Froome added. "This is such an emotional win for me. Today really has been an epic ride, and epic stage.

"The support out there on the roads, there were thousands and thousands of people out there encouraging us. I was really surprised to see so many English people out there. It was amazing."

Froome now leads the general classification from Mollema by four minutes 14 seconds, with Contador 11 seconds further back.

Quintana is now sixth, five minutes 47 seconds back.

Froome crossed the line with one hand on his heart and the other raised in triumph after he conquered one of the most feared mountains in cycling - the first Brit ever to win on the mountain.

By the time he had scaled the 1,912 metre mountain he had spent almost six hours in the saddle, but that time was actually half an hour less than the most optimistic estimate for this stage, testament to the rapid pace set all day by the peloton.

Ireland's Dan Martin remains in 11th in the General Classification after Stage 15 but now trails the yellow jersey by 8:28 after finishing 14th today.

His cousin Nicolas Roche finished in 54th positiion today meaning he slips to 38th in the overall standings.

PA Media

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