Tour de France: Vincenzo Nibali admits 'Chris Froome hammered us'
Defending champion says he is not the same rider as 2014
Last Updated: 14/07/15 10:02pm
Vincenzo Nibali admitted Chris Froome "hammered us" after the Team Sky rider extended his Tour de France lead with a commanding solo win on stage 10.
Froome crossed the line on the summit finish at La Pierre-Saint-Martin in the Pyrenees 1min 4sec ahead of Nairo Quintana, 2min 51sec in front of Alberto Contador and 4min 25sec up on Nibali.
The Italian was dropped with 9.5km of the 15.3km climb remaining and admitted afterwards that he is a shadow of the rider that won the Tour last year.
Nibali, who is now 6min 57sec down overall, said: “It was a difficult day. I couldn't keep the pace. I could not breathe properly. I couldn't find the right pedalling pace. It was as if I didn't have any strength left. I could hardly follow my own team-mates.
“For sure Chris Froome hammered us badly. But we all lost time, all the favourites did: [Tejay] van Garderen, [Joaquim] Rodriguez, even [Alberto] Contador.
“We all thought we were better. It's going to be difficult now. Physically I feel pretty well. But I can't give anymore. I'm not the same Vincenzo Nibali as last year.”
Contador was also dropped out of the peloton early, with 6.5km to go, and is now 4min 4sec back on Froome overall.
It was a critical blow to his hopes of winning a Giro d’Italia-Tour de France double this year and the Spaniard said he had suffered similar problems to Nibali.
He said: "I knew it was an important day today. I wanted not to lose too much time, but I couldn't breathe. I couldn't turn my legs. I don't know why.
“It was really a bad day for me. We are going to see what we can do to, whether we can improve our overall ranking. The priority is to relax, sit back, consider the situation calmly and act accordingly."
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