Team SKY and their esteemed leader Chris Froome have dashed the GC hopes of many of their rivals on the first day in the mountains in this year’s Tour de France. In a day that crossed the highest point of this year’s Tour and featured a mountain top finish team SKY rode their hearts out and the legs off everybody.
With Movistars U23 sensation Nairo Quintana motivated to throw down the challenge to the boys in black the Colombian quickly moved out to 1.20 at the summit of the Pailheres but from behind it was the duo of Kennaugh and Porte that shred the peloton on the descent and on the final climb to Ax 3 Domaines they caught and dispatched the young climbing ace and Jettisoned Froome off the front to take the stage and the yellow jersey.
Alberto Contador hoping his condition had improved since his last meeting with Froome at the Dauphine was left wondering what else he could do as he limped home on the wheel of team mate Kreuziger some1.45 behind the Brit and now sits 1.51 off the pace in seventh position. Team manager and master tactician Bjarne Riis acknowledged that the plan remains the same but the objective has increased in difficulty.
BMC's GC duo of Cadel Evans and Tejay Van Garderen now look to be riding for stages and padding out the top ten after a disastrous day on the slopes left TVG over 12 minutes back and 2011 Tour winner Evans in excess of four in arrears.