• France's news in English

Tour de France: Sky ready to alter strategy

AFP/The Local · 8 Jul 2013, 18:17

Published: 08 Jul 2013 18:17 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Team Sky said they are ready to adapt their strategy for the remainder of the Tour de France after the "war" of stage nine shook up race leader Chris Froome.

After the euphoria of Froome's stunning victory atop Ax-Trois-Domaines gave the Kenyan-born Briton the race lead on Saturday, Sky were put to the test on Sunday's second day in the Pyrenees as teams colluded to loosen their grip.

By the end of the stage Froome was still in command but aggressive racing by Sky's rivals saw Australian teammate Richie Porte, sitting second overall at 51secs overnight, tumble to the nether regions of the overall standings.

Sky's spectacular collapse left Froome on his own and exposed to attacks by rivals like Alberto Contador (Saxo) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).

Froome ultimately weathered the storm, and team principal Dave Brailsford gave him a pat on the back.

"To use a boxing analogy, he's taken the biggest right hook on the chin and he didn't flinch," said Brailsford.

Faced with suggestions that Sky had hit too hard, too soon and have upset rivals who will pounce later in the race, Brailsford was defiant.

"We've learned some lessons and there are some valuable lessons to be learned that we will take into the rest of the race," he said.

Brailsford was hesitant to elaborate but added: "We will adapt our strategy for the rest of the race. I'm not going to go into the details of what we're going to change."

While Froome did not lose any time on stage nine, the loss of Porte as a potential podium finisher is a major handicap for Sky in terms of tactics.

Attacks by either rider in the coming mountain stages would likely prompt rivals to spend energy counter-attacking, allowing Sky to save energy and attack when they decide the time is right.

Froome admitted: "From my side it's a huge shame that we don't have that card to play now, and of course it's a shame for Richie."

Porte, meanwhile, put his collapse down to an 'off-day', a common occurrence for riders on the demanding three-week Grand Tours.

"Anybody here who's been a bicycle racer knows on the Grand Tours you have good and bad days," said the Australian, the reigning Paris-Nice champion.

But he admitted that Sky's success on Saturday had elicited an "angry" response from their rivals.

"There was an angry peloton that threw everything they had at us... Yesterday was a special day, it makes for great viewing at home. But it was an absolute war."

After Sunday's stage Froome and Porte admitted they had both possibly suffered their "worst" day on the bike.

Story continues below…

And with 12 stages remaining, including a time trial on Wednesday over 33 km and several brutal days in the Alps in the final week, most will expect Sky to come under attack again.

Porte, for one, is hoping Froome can help restore order in the peloton by taking more time off his rivals in Wednesday's time trial.

"My hope is that it (race) will become a little bit more controlled, and it is going to get easier after the time trial," added the Tasmanian.

Brailsford, meanwhile, says his team will simply have to adapt their strategy as the race moves on towards the Alps. Stage 15 to Mont Ventoux could be the next battleground.

"I don't have a crystal ball," added Brailsford.

"This is sport... we're here, we've got a team of committed riders, we've got some strong opposition, we're leading the race, we've got some time trials to come, some different mountain stages and we'll try to adapt our strategy for those."

AFP/The Local (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Millionaire Riviera hotel boss kidnapped in broad daylight
The city of Nice where the millionaire was bundled into a car infront of shocked onlookers. Photo: AFP

The millionaire head of a luxury hotel in the French Riviera resort of Cannes was kidnapped in front of shocked onlookers in the middle of the day on Monday.

Where exactly in France are Calais migrants being sent?
Photo: AFP

Here's where the 8,000 migrants in Calais are heading.

The annoying questions only a half French, half British person can answer
Photo: Beery/Flickr/AFP

Being half French, half British is means you get asked a lot of questions (and some of them can be a little annoying.)

Migrants bussed out of Calais Jungle to all corners of France
All photos: AFP

Hundreds of migrants are being bussed across France on Monday ahead of the demolition of the Jungle camp.

The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
A Prophet. Photo: YouTube Screengrab

Looking for something to watch?

The must-see French films of the millennium - Part Two
Rust and Bone. Photo: YouTube Screengrab

The newest French films you need to see before you die (or alternatively when you get some spare time).

Election Watch
Presidential hopeful reckons a pain au chocolat is 10 cents

So France happily takes the pastry out of him.

French ministry of defence officials die in plane crash
Screengrab: eddydeg/Twitter

The French Ministry of Defence officials were killed on Monday when a light aircraft went down on the island of Malta.

Revealed: The ten most stolen cars in France
A Smart car in Paris. Photo: JR_Paris/Flickr

Thieves in France are getting a taste for luxury cars, it seems.

Analysis - France migrant crisis
Migrant crisis won't end with Calais 'Jungle' closure
All Photos: AFP

The Jungle camp may be being cleared but this won't be the end of the migrant crisis in France.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available