Tour de France: Chris Froome takes magnificent solo victory on Mont Ventoux on stage 15
Chris Froome took a magnificent solo victory on Mont Ventoux on stage 15 of the Tour de France.
By Matt Westby in Vaison-la-Romaine
Last Updated: 16/07/13 1:29pm
The Team Sky rider triumphed after delivering two devastating attacks, first to shed Alberto Contador 7km from the summit finish, and then again to dispense with Nairo Quintana 1.3km out.
It was yet another supreme show of climbing strength from Froome, who also wrote his name into cycling folklore by becoming only the second rider to win on Mont Ventoux while wearing the yellow jersey, joining Eddy Merckx.
Quintana (Movistar) hung on to take second place, but Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) finished sixth, 1min 40sec adrift, and is now 4min 25sec behind Froome in the general classification.
Froome also extended his lead over second-placed Bauke Mollema (Belkin) to 4min 14sec after the Dutchman was dropped earlier in the climb and could only finish eighth, 1min 46sec down.
His stage-winning attack carried symbolic significance, too, as it came just metres from the memorial to British rider Tom Simpson, who died on that spot 46 years ago yesterday.
Having lost time in Friday's 13th stage, Froome's stunning display more than repaired that damage and simultaneously struck another mental blow to his rivals ahead of the Tour's final week in the Alps.
It was made all the more impressive by the fact it came at the end of punishing, 242.5km day played out in hot and humid conditions in south-east France.
A nine-man breakaway containing Peter Sagan (Cannondale) went clear early, but after Sagan extended his points classification lead by winning the intermediate sprint, the group began to fall apart of the lower slopes of the final climb.
Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) attacked his fellow escapees and briefly led solo, but the Frenchman was soon caught and overtaken after Quintana and Mikel Nieve (Euskaltel-Euskadi) both surged out of the bunch and established a gap of 45 seconds.
Quintana plays his part
A constant stream of riders were being tailed off in the peloton and Froome's team-mate Richie Porte blew it apart further with a brutal upping of the pace 9km out.
Soon only Froome and Contador were still with him, and when Porte pulled aside 7km out, his team leader struck his first blow by attacking and dropping Contador with ease.
He quickly overtook Nieve and then caught Quintana 6.3km from home, and the duo began working together to further distance Contador.
However, when Froome surged again just before the 1km-to-go banner, he left the wilting Colombian behind and continued on to a win that will go down in British cycling history.
Stage 15 result
1 Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky, 5:48:45
2 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar, +29secs
3 Mikel Nieve (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi, +1:23
4 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha, same time
5 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Saxo-Tinkoff, +1:40
6 Alberto Contador (Spa) Saxo-Tinkoff, st
7 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana, +1:43
8 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin, +1:46
9 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin, +1:53
10 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale, +2:08
1 Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky, 61:11:43
2 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin, +4:14
3 Alberto Contador (Spa) Saxo-Tinkoff, +4:25
4 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Saxo-Tinkoff, +4:28
5 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin, +4:54
6 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar, +5:47
7 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana, +6:22
8 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha, +7:11
9 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale, +7:47
10 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step, +7:58