Froome claims mountain time trial to extend overall lead in Tour de France

Chris Froome took a huge stride towards winning a third Tour de France crown with a convincing victory over Dutchman Tom Dumoulin in the uphill time trial from Sallanches to Megeve.

Team Sky’s Froome rode the challenging 17-kilometre course in a stellar time of 30 minutes 47 seconds to beat Giant Alpecin’s time trial specialist Dumoulin by 21 seconds and secure the second stage win of his race.

With Froome’s closest contender for the yellow jersey – the Dutchman Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) – posting the 17th best time 1:25 in arrears, Froome extended his lead in the general classification to well over three minutes with three stages remaining.

Froome had a different approach and after the slow start, he moved up from time check to time check. At the second check, he was third, 10 seconds behind Dumoulin and at the final check he had taken the lead by 13 seconds. He managed to go 8 seconds faster than Dumoulin in the final 3.5km, delivering a perfectly gauged effort to take the win.

Richie Porte (BMC) was expected to be the best of the rest and the Australian seemed to be on track when he posted the best time at the first check. However, just like it happened in the first TT, he lost ground in the second part and ultimately had to settle for fourth with a time loss of 33 seconds.

The other big winner was Fabio Aru (Astana) who exceeded all expectations by beating Porte by less than a second to take third. That result allowed the Italian to jump from 8th to 7th in the overall standings, overtaking Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) who had a disappointing day with a 12th place.

Another big winner was Romain Bardet (Ag2r) who posted the fifth best time, 9 seconds slower than Porte and Aru, and so moved closer to the podium. He is now just 41 seconds behind Adam Yates who had a difficult day as he had to settle for 16th, losing 1.23 to Froome. Things were even worse for Mauke Mollema who was 2 seconds further adrift in 17th but he retained second place, 3.52 behind Froome.

Nairo Quintana looked like he was on a very bad day as he was far back at the first check but like Froome he gauged his effort well, ultimately finishing the stage in 10th and moving closer to the podium. He is now just 21 seconds behind Yates and so still has a chance to move into the top 3 during the final two days in the Alps.

A lot can still change as there’s a very tough stage coming up tomorrow. The 146km between Albertville and Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc are tough as it is uphill right from the start. Then there is a category 1, a category 2 and a category HC climb on the menu before the riders get to the final climb which averages 8% over 9.8km for the final summit finish of this year’s race.

Tour de France 2016 – stage 18 results (Sallanches – Megève ITT):

1 Christopher Froome (Sky)


2 Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin)


3 Fabio Aru (Astana)


4 Richie Porte (BMC)


5 Romain Bardet (AG2R)


6 Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal)


7 Ion Izagirre (Movistar)


8 Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha)


9 Louis Meintjes (Lampre – Merida)


10 Nairo Quintana (Movistar)


11 Jerome Coppel (IAM)


12 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)


13 Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff)


14 Stef Clement (IAM)


15 Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)


16 Adam Yates (Orica-BikeExchange)


17 Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo)


18 Daniel Martin (Etixx – Quick-Step)


19 Romain Sicard (Direct Energie)


20 Sylvain Chavanel (Direct Energie)



General classification after stage 18:

1 Christopher Froome (Sky)


2 Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo)


3 Adam Yates (Orica-BikeExchange)


4 Nairo Quintana (Movistar)


5 Romain Bardet (AG2R)


6 Richie Porte (BMC)


7 Fabio Aru (Astana)


8 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)


9 Louis Meintjes (Lampre – Merida)


10 Daniel Martin (Etixx – Quick-Step)


11 Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha)


12 Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff)


13 Sébastien Reichenbach (FDJ)


14 Sergio Henao (Sky)


15 Geraint Thomas (Sky)


16 Pierre Rolland (Cannondale-Drapac)


17 Tejay Van Garderen (BMC)


18 Mikel Nieve (Sky)


19 Stef Clement (IAM)


20 Warren Barguil (Giant-Alpecin)