Chris Froome deems Tour de France lead as Tom Dumoulin acquires ninth theatre

The Dutchman flecked clear amid torrential rainwater and hail in the Pyrenees, while Spains two-times champion Alberto Contador withdrew with fever

As a deluge of rainwater and hail descended on the super-category climbing here, amid the lowering Pyrenean skies there was a little lucidity over the identity of the men who may eventually stand in Chris Froomes way as he bids to acquire his third Tour de France. With the Dutchman Tom Dumoulin assured of stage victory, further back down the hillside the first great squabble of the 2016 race developed around Froome, as the race captain was criticized time and time again by two men: the Irishman Dan Martin and his former team-mate Richie Porte.

Two others retained a watching summary. Nairo Quintana barely moved an inch from Froomes wheel but never depicted any inclination to threw the Kenyan-born Briton under pressure, while Adam Yates occasionally slipped off the pace but had the strength to grasp the sprint for 10 th target ahead of Froome and the other three. Yates maintains its second place, 16 seconds behind Froome, while Martin born in Birmingham but with an Irish passport moved ahead of Joaquim Rodrguez into third overall, 19 sec back.

Others had started the day with assertions to a place on the platform or a possible challenge, but were unable to hold the speed when Froomes team-mate Sergio Henao propelled a searing strike with five kilometres remaining. The Italian Tour debutant Fabio Aru lost a instant, which does not bode well, but Romain Bardet and Rodrguez restriction their damages; like Quintana, the pair remain within a minute of Froome along with Henao, the Dutchman Bauke Mollema another energetic attack here and the South African Louis Meintjes. The hasten, like the condition, has already been to settle.

Of the quartet who finished with Froome, the mysterious Quintana is by far the most threatening, as a previous winner of the Giro dItalia and twice runner-up in the Tour. Porte lost day on stage two, but will have taken nature from his journeying in the Pyrenees. Martin has a pedigree as a climber, and as one with a geniu for locating openings, but has now been tended to fall apart in the Tours final week, while Yates is an unknown quantity, whose project this year was to aim for stagecoach wins.

Its still a very open race at this place, said Froome, who assaulted twice, but was unable to remove Quintana or Porte. There were a lot of attempts on that final climb. I was hoping to gain time, but at the end there were a few competitors in front so I cleared sure to finish in the same occasion as them. I was waiting for Quintanas assault all up the clamber, I thought he was waiting for one large-scale one, but it never came. He contributed, optimistically: Id like to think he was on his restraint. The Colombian might well. Or he could have been biding his time.

Skys plan appeared to be for Henaos move to put Froomes competitives under pressure, so that the commander could perform the coup de grce but, instead, it was Froome who faced a clutter of attacks. His contenders can take encouragement from the opening weekend of heavy-duty rise: unlike in the past at this extent of the hasten, Froome has been unable to open a decisive chink, while Team Sky have invested two main stagecoaches travelling defensively in incapacitating heat to no major gist. Over the first climb, the Port de la Bonaigua, for example, Alberto Contador and Alejandro Valverde put on the pressure, and the British unit had to respond.

Before the four horsemen of the Apocalypse saddled up around Arcalis and the temperatures plummeted, the thermometer topped 40 stages, symbolizing Sky seemed reluctant to expend energy preserving invoices on a large group of escapees as the race approached Andorra. Up front, Dumoulin retained a watching summary over two horrendously steep risings through the principality the first-category Col de Beixalis was little more than a tarmac goat track before taking flight at the paw of the final ascent.

Dumoulin is likely to prove one of Froomes prime challengers for the time ordeal claim at the Rio Olympics; this was a third Grand Tour stage win for the solidly constructed Dutchman who has already taken stagecoaches in the Giro dItalia this year, and the Vuelta a Espaa, where he objection strongly for overall succes last year. He came here with the intent of building his fitness for Rio and the Butterfly of Maastricht is clearly running in spite of incredulities earlier in the race.

The escape also included all three competitors for the measled King of the Mountains jersey: Rafal Majka, Thomas de Gendt, and Frances Thibaut Pinot, whose hopes of overall victory disappeared on Friday. De Gendt literally came to a standstill on the Beixalis, while, as Dumoulin forged onward, Majka and Pinot celebrated one another like hawks until the Pole the best climber in 2014 vanished with the Portuguese Rui Costa. The Frenchman has the jersey, nonetheless, and it is capable of finish up as a succour booty rather than the yellow he had hoped for.

The Pyrenees have also terminated Contadors last-place continuing said that he hoped he might triumph a third Tour. The Spaniard had stuttered day by day since his gate-crashes on the opening weekend and his attack on the Bonaigua was exclusively pyrrhic. His race came to a stall roughly 100 km from the end of the stage, when the Spaniard clambered into his squad automobile. Since my two disintegrates I havent felt good, and that is something that push things to this decision, he said subsequentlies. Harmonizing to his squad, the Spaniard had been suffering from fever symptoms.

Contador is a man of the past both good and bad but this climb has offered presages for the future on previous Tour trips, most notably when a slimmed down Bradley Wiggins uncovered invisible climbing endowments when the hasten finished here in 2009. Yates was Arcaliss show of 2016: whatever his goals this year, his strong execution to accommodated second to Froome here means he can definitely now be tip-off as a future competitor for overall success.

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