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July 14, 2015 – Chris Froome took a huge step towards regaining the Tour de France crown on Tuesday as he decimated the opposition to win the first mountain stage of this year’s race. The 2013 champion’s Australian teammate Richie Porte took second on the 10th stage from Tarbes to La Pierre-Saint Martin to deny third-placed Nairo Quintana a couple of bonus seconds, but they were a minute behind the victor.
American Tejay Van Garderen was 10th on the stage at 2min 30sec but remains second overall at 2min 52sec with Quintana up to third 3min 09sec back. But it was a miserable day for reigning champion Vincenzo Nibali, dropped more than 10km from the finish and almost 4min 30sec behind at the line, leaving him nearly 7min back overall in 10th.
Alberto Contador was almost 3min back in 11th place on the stage and is now more than 4min down overall in sixth. It was an even worse day for three French hopes as Jean-Christophe Peraud, Thibot Pinot and Romain Bardet — respectively second, third and sixth last year — were torched near the bottom of the brutal 15km climb to the finish of the 167km stage.
Froome, though, gave a demonstration every bit as impressive as his victories at Ax 3 Domaines and Mont Ventoux in his Tour winning year in 2013 as he won his sixth stage at the grand Boucle. First Geraint Thomas and then Porte had laid the groundwork for Froome’s lethal attack around 6.5km from the finish.
By then Nibali and Contador were long gone and as the attack came, Quintana was the only one able to keep Froome in sight.
But he steadily lost touch and was even caught and passed by Porte before the finish as the Australian took six bonus seconds on the line to Quintana’s four — Froome had a 10sec bonus for winning.
Van Garderen limited his losses to boost his podium hopes while the ‘fantastic four’ myth was destroyed as only Quintana, perhaps, is left in a position to deny Froome, barring a disaster, a procession all the way to Paris.
Final 15 Kilometers of Stage 10
Results Stage __:
1. Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 4:22:07
2. Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky 0:00:59
3. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:01:04
4. Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 0:01:33
5. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:02:01
6. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky
7. Adam Yates (GBr) Orica GreenEdge 0:02:04
8. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar
9. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal 0:02:22
10. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:02:30
1. Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 35:56:09
2. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:02:52
3. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:03:09
4. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:04:01
5. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:04:03
6. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:04:04
7. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal 0:04:33
8. Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 0:04:35
9. Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Alpecin 0:06:12
10. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:06:57