2013 Tour – Stage 8 – Uh Oh.

FroomeTour

Chris Froome has just won the Tour… err… the 8th stage of the Tour de France and it looks like the competition is all on a different level. A level much further down the mountain. We’ve been away for the week on bike camping holiday break from sewing and I haven’t been watching the Tour until today. The first week, predominantly a week for sprinters and the TTT went about how it would have been expected. Today, was the big point of interest for many, and questions would be answered. If you were hoping for a dramatic Tour filled with tension, that may come, but until then… Uh Oh.

On the first big climb of the Tour the answers came. Movistar, who brought a stacked squad, and one which looked like it may be able to put a tiny bit of stress into the Team Sky camp got things started when Nairo Quintana, the 22yr old micro-sized Colombian, attacked about 7km from the top of the penultimate climb – the Col de Pailheres. He quickly ascended through the field catching Thomas Voeckler, Robert Gesink and Christophe Riblon who all had gone on brave early attacks. Quintana surged up the mountain side as Sky stayed on their pace. By the top, Quintana had about a minute on the group and he began his descent with the favorites in hot pursuit. Quintana, who appeared nervous on the descent had lost half of his advantage by the base of Ax-3 Domaines and had only 26 seconds when Richie Porte took over and he blew the selection to pieces. One by one the favorites fell off the pace on the final climb.

With Porte on the front and Froome in behind, the twenty or so riders who made up the selection were quickly down to five – Porte, Froome, Valverde, Kreuziger and Contador. And they were within sight of Quintana. Then Froome accelerated and never looked back as he stormed the mountain to set the third fastest time in history – 23’15”, only 15 seconds slower than Armstrong in 2001. At the line, the newspapers had been off the press before the first non-Sky rider, 2009 Vuelta Champion, and 2012 Vuelta runner-up Alejandro Valverde (+1’08”), came in third. Past Tour winners Contador (8th, +1’45”), Schleck (21st, +4’00”) and Evans (23rd, +4’36”) look like they’ll provide little competition. 2012 Giro champion Ryder Hesjedal, who is riding with a broken rib lost 8’15”. Joaquim Rodriguez, who was second in the 2012 Giro and third in the 2012 Vuelta lost 2’06”. Realistically, the time gaps aren’t huge to the Spanish trio of Valverde, Contador and Rodriguez, but if the latter two don’t find some form fast, they will become huge.

Is the Tour over? No. But, c’mon, is it? Who knows? Are the same tedious questions about today’s winning performance going to be asked for the next two weeks? Two Months? Two Decades? Those are the times… you decide.

2013 Tour Stage 8 Top Ten
1. Chris Froome (SKY)________5h03’18”
2. Richie Porte (SKY)________+51″
3. Alejandro Valverde (MOV)__+1’08”
4. Bauke Mollema (BEL)_______+1’10”
5. Laurens Ten Dam (BEL)_____+1’16”
6. Mikel Nieve (EUS)_________+1’34”
7. Roman Kreuziger (TST)_____+1’45”
8. Alberto Contador (TST)
9. Nairo Quintana (MOV)
10. Igor Anton (EUS)

Overall Classification after 8 stages
1. Chris Froome (SKY)________5h03’18”
2. Richie Porte (SKY)________+51″
3. Alejandro Valverde (MOV)__+1’25”
4. Bauke Mollema (BEL)_______+1’44”
5. Laurens Ten Dam (BEL)_____+1’50”
6. Roman Kreuziger (TST)_____+1’51”
7. Alberto Contador (TST)
8. Nairo Quintana (MOV)______+2’02”
9. Joaquim Rodriguez (KAT)___+2’31”
10. Michael Rogers (TST)_____+2’40”
11. Rui Costa (MOV)__________+2’45”
12. Andrew Talansky (GRM)____+2’48”
13. Daniel Martin (GRM)
14. Mikel Nieve (EUS)________+2’55”
15. Igor Anton (EUS)_________+3’06”

21. Andy Schleck (RLT)_______+4’00”

23. Cadel Evans (BMC)________+4’36”

25. Pierre Rolland (EUR)_____+4’57”

29. Thibault Pinot (FDJ)_____+6’39”

35. Ryder Hesjedal (GRM)_____+8’29”

44. Tejay Van Garderen (BMC)_+12’38”

46. Damiano Cunego (LAM)_____+15’43”

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