Tour de France Stage 8 reaction: Froome and Porte reflect on dominant display by Sky

Nairo Quintana and Peter Sagan also share thoughts, David Millar says he believes Sky are riding clean

by Simon_MacMichael   July 6, 2013  

Chris Froome at 2013 Tour de France launch (copyright Simon MacMichael)

Team Sky took control of the General Classification of the 100th Tour de France on the first mountain stage in the Pyrenees this afternoon, Chris Froome winning and taking the maillot jaune with colleague Richie Porte finishing second.

Rivals including Alberto Contador of Saxo Tinkoff, the BMC Racing pair Cadel Evans and Tejay van Garderen, and Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana all lost time. Here’s some of the reaction.

Chris Froome of Team Sky, winning a stage on the Tour’s second Saturday as he did 12 months ago at La Planche des Belles Filles, but today moving into the maillot jaune of race leader, too.

I couldn’t be happier. It really has been a nervous week building up until now but the team has done a fantastic job.

We’ve come through the first week in a really good position and being able to do that today, and being able to repay my team-mates with a stage win, and Richie coming second - we couldn’t have asked for more.

This is the first real GC day so to come out and win it with first and second is just a dream come true.

This is only the first week of the Tour. We’ve still got two weeks to go and there’s definitely going to be some hard racing to come.

We’ve got the yellow jersey and we’re definitely going to have to defend it. I was always confident with my team-mates around me.

Pete Kennaugh, Richie Porte – they did an absolutely fantastic job bringing us up until the climb. That’s such a good way to start the mountains for us

Richie Porte, who helped Froome reel in Quintana and was the only rider to finish within a minute of him, moving up to second on GC.

It looks good for us but there’s still a long, long way to go.

There’s still Ventoux and Alpe-d’Huez so it’s not over until the fat lady sings.

Despite that the team were able to land a blow to a number of rivals, with Porte admitting to being surprised at the margin of victory.

Of course it’s a massive surprise but it’s an absolute brilliant day for the team.

When Quintana attacked we didn’t panic. You can’t ride away solo like that to the finish. It’s fantastic but you can’t get carried away. We’ll just enjoy the moment.

Movistar’s Nairo Quintana, who took the Souvenir Henri Desgrange for leading the Tour over the highest summit of this year’s race, the Port de Pailhères, got the day’s combativity prize, and despite losing 1 minute 45 seconds to Froome moves into the lead of the best young rider’s competition.

For this first mountain stage, I'm happy with my feelings. My legs were good, and I put them to good use with an attack.

I thought about it – the stage win – for a moment. But I missed a bit of strength at the end and the Sky team is very strong, with Chris Froome and Richie Porte.

It is not a big drama for me to miss out today as it's my first Tour de France and I'm here to learn.

Now we will still try to win stages, and we must continue to attack. But mostly, I also like the white jersey, it's a nice objective. It's on my shoulders now, but I'd like to keep up to Paris.

Peter Sagan of Cannondale, winner of yesterday’s Stage 7 in Albi, who was pipped to fifth place in today’s intermediate sprint by Lotto-Belisol’s André Greipel, but who retains a commanding lead of 93 points as he seeks to retain the green jersey.

Today, I think I took a pretty decisive step towards the final conquest of winning the green jersey. I planned to focus on the intermediate sprint and then take it easy.

On the way to the prime [intermediate sprint], I was led out perfectly by my team-mates, who were just as happy to help as they when they created my stage victory yesterday.

André Greipel overtook me before the line, but it is only one point of difference between us so, given the current state of the points classification, it's irrelevant.

I have a comfortable lead. Now it's a game and I just have to control my opponents.

I'm happy with my day. I cannot say that it was like a day of rest, but the stage was much quieter for me than the previous ones. I expect something harder tomorrow.

During each stage, I am pleased to see more and more flags in my country. I see the campers that fans have driven from Slovakia so that they could be here to encourage me. I hear them too. It warms the heart.

David Millar, sharing his thoughts on Twitter, where there had been some raised eyebrows this afternoon about Froome and Sky’s dominant performance.

Well, @TeamSky rode a perfect race, and for the record, I believe they are clean and they deserve respect and admiration for it.

Just saying, because I don't think they deserve to have mud thrown at them when they work so hard to do it right. It doesn't seem fair.

[Millar's sister, Fran, is Head of Business Operations at Sky Procycling; he held talks with Dave Brailsford about joining the team ahead of its debut season, but as a result of his doping ban and its insistence on zero tolerance on the issue, was precluded from doing so - ed]

Cadel Evans of BMC Racing, 2011 Tour de France winner and third behind Vincenzo Nibali and Rigoberto Uran in May's Giro d'Italia, but who lost 4 minutes 13 seconds to Froome today.

It was my worst day in the Tour when I've been healthy. I was nowhere in the mix.

I knew I wasn't at my best, but certainly I didn't expect to be that far off the best.

Sky rode a tempo that was really consistent – from when they started on the Pailhères to when they hit the bottom of Ax 3 Domaines,.

They rode a consistent, solid pace. Not many people could match it.

His team mate Tejay van Garderen, winner of the best young rider's classification last year, who lost 12 minutes 15 seconds to Froome on that final climb to Ax 3 Domaines.

The heat really started getting to me, which is strange because I'd done a lot to prepare for the heat with the sauna and I've had good rides in California and San Luis, which were all really hot.

So I didn't think that was going to be an issue. But for some reason, today, it really seemed to affect me.

Dan Frost, DS at Saxo-Tinkoff, whose Alberto Contador lose 1 minute 45 seconds to Froome this afternoon.

Alberto was really well-protected all the way to the finish line but the conclusion is that he, like many other riders had a tough and hot day.

Of course, it's a huge blow to the confidence being dropped like this on the first mountain stage and Porte and Froome are looking extremely powerful and won the first round. But the race is either won or lost.

On the first mountain stage in any race, it's common to have a bad day. Several mountains and kilometers are still to come on the road to Paris and we'll be looking for a gap in the Team Sky defence and take advantage of it when we see it.

 

5 user comments

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Quintana's and Froome's performances were certainly spectacular and fantastic to watch, like the good old days. I can't remember how long it is since I enjoyed a mountain stage that much - Contador vs Schleck perhaps. I'm looking forward to more fireworks in the days to come!

But it's precisely for that reason that the numbers raised by @scienceofsport and others on Twitter certainly raised eyebrows. I want to believe they're clean; Millar would have a better view than most. But no-one can complain if longterm fans raise an eyebrow at performances that seem too good to be true...

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

Gizmo_'s picture

posted by Gizmo_ [752 posts]
6th July 2013 - 22:38

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Stunning ride by froome

posted by Super Domestique [1592 posts]
6th July 2013 - 22:44

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Amazing ride by Sky. Well done guys. Peter Kennaughs effort was fantastic.

posted by kitkat [191 posts]
6th July 2013 - 23:19

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With the high expectation from the media and quite a few of us supporters, it is a great job by Froome to take this stage. He is having an excellent year and is delivering solid performances. Can't wait to see him in the yellow today! Capital Cycles

posted by TeamCC [146 posts]
7th July 2013 - 0:52

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Urk, why does David Millar feel like it his job to pass comment on the cleanliness or not of team Sky. His 'doping really make me unhappy and I am so, so sorry' bit is wearing very thin.

Between the S and the LOW

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1187 posts]
7th July 2013 - 11:18

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