Tour de France: Britain’s Froome wins stage 8

The favourite for the Tour de France, Britain's Chris Froome got his hands on the yellow jersey for the first time after a stunning performance in the Pyrenées saw him win stage 8 of this year's race.

Tour de France: Britain's Froome wins stage 8
Chris Froome celebrating his win at the end of stage 8 of the Tour de France. Photo: Jeff Pachoud/AFP

Britain's Chris Froome secured the Tour de France yellow jersey after a stunning win on the first day in the mountains as his rivals slumped on Saturday.

Sky team leader Froome launched a solo attack 5km from the race's first summit finish at Ax-Trois-Domaines and came over the finish 51sec ahead of Sky teammate Richie Porte to underline his overall victory credentials.

Spain's two-time runner-up Alberto Contador finished over a minute behind while 2011 champion Cadel Evans was even further behind at the end of an epic eighth stage.

Froome, last year's runner-up behind teammate Bradley Wiggins, now tops the general classification with a 51sec lead over Australian teammate Porte, with
Spain's Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) in third at 1min 25sec.

Contador (Saxo) is 1:51 off the pace while Australian Evans (BMC) is nearly five minutes adrift after finishing the stage 4:12 down on Froome.

Porte, the last rider in Sky's impressive line-up to set the pace on the 7.8 km climb to the Pyrenean ski station, said the order to hit full gas came from Froome after the Kenyan-born rider had realised Contador was in trouble.

"When Chris told me Alberto was no longer there, I just tried to give it everything I had," said Porte, who had taken over the pace-setting duties from Britain's Peter Kennaugh.

"I'm finished (exhausted), but it was an absolutely incredible ride."

Standings from the 8th stage of the Tour de France, a 195.0km ride from Castres to Ax 3 Domaines, on Saturday:

   1. Chris Froome (GBR/SKY) 5h03min 18sec
   (average: 38,6 km/h)
   2. Richie Porte (AUS/SKY) at 0:51.
   3. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/MOV) 1:08.
   4. Bauke Mollema (NED/BKN) 1:10.
   5. Laurens ten Dam (NED/BKN) 1:16.
   6. Mikel Nieve (ESP/EUS) 1:34.
   7. Roman Kreuziger (CZE/SAX) 1:45.
   8. Alberto Contador (ESP/SAX) 1:45.
   9. Nairo Quintana (COL/MOV) 1:45.
   10. Igor Anton (ESP/EUS) 1:45.

11. Joaquin Rodriguez (ESP/KAT) 2:06.
   12. Rui Costa (POR/MOV) 2:28.
   13. Jean-Christophe Peraud (FRA/ALM) 2:28.
   14. Romain Bardet (FRA/ALM) 2:35.
   15. Daniel Martin (IRL/GRM) 2:35.
   16. Andrew Talansky (USA/GRM) 2:35.
   17. Jakob Diemer Fuglsang (DEN/AST) 2:35.
   18. Michael Rogers (AUS/SAX) 2:35.

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Tour de France formally block Chris Froome over drug suspicion

Tour de France organisers have formally blocked four-time champion Chris Froome from competing in this year's race, Le Monde reported on Sunday, but he is expected to fight the move.

Tour de France formally block Chris Froome over drug suspicion
Froome, shown at least year's Tour de France, insists he's done nothing wrong. Photo: Jeff Pachoud/AFP
The Team Sky star has been under a cloud since he was found to have twice the permissible amount of asthma drug Salbutamol in his system during September's Vuelta a Espana, which he won.
Five-time Tour winner Bernard Hinault, who worked for the Tour organisation for many years, called for the peloton to strike if the British rider lines up at the start of this year's event next Saturday.
Froome responded on Wednesday that he will compete in this year's race. quoted Team Sky as responding to Sunday's report that they are “confident that Chris will be riding the Tour as we know he has done nothing wrong.”
A final decision on the organisers' attempt to prevent the Kenyan-born Briton from taking part is expected to be made by the French National Olympic and Sports Committee, which is to make a ruling Tuesday, Le Monde said after the last-ditch bid to exclude him.
Technically, while Froome awaits the result of an ongoing investigation into his Salbutamol case, he can still ride on the Tour.
ASO, the organisers of the iconic Tour, refused to comment on the report although AFP has had confirmation of information they say backs their view that the defending champion should not be allowed to race.
According to the letter of the rules, Froome is authorised to ride until a final decision from the anti-doping tribunal of the International Cycling Union regarding his ongoing case.
Le Monde says Froome will not necessarily attend Tuesday's meeting by the French committee with their ruling due Wednesday. He is to be defended by British sports lawyer Mike Morgan, a French speaker, before the UCI tribunal.
Sky, ASO and the French Olympic Committee will each choose an arbiter to decide whether Froome should be allowed to start the Tour.
According to Tour statutes, organisers may ban a rider or a team if their presence is seen as liable to damage the image or reputation of the organisers or the event.
Team Sky have yet to unveil their eight-strong team.
Froome, who denies wrongdoing, is out to emulate five-time winners Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain.