Froome holds firm at Tour of the Alps

18 Apr 2018

Froome holds firm at Tour of the Alps

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Chris Froome was equal to the task as he retained fourth place overall following stage three at the Tour of the Alps.

The Brit came home sixth as part of an elite group in Merano, with the peloton split by back to back mountain passes.
 
Racing started early on the Passo della Mendola, with Team Sky forced to work to chase down a dangerous breakaway group featuring overall contenders Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) and Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain Merida). 
 
Froome was able to follow and cover off attacks, while David de la Cruz and Kenny Elissonde helped claw back a gap which at one point had stretched out to a minute.
 
The descent off the Passo Palade proved key, with Froome putting in an impressive downhill display to overhaul the leaders.
 
After a regrouping Ben O'Connor (Dimension Data) was able to re-establish a small gap, which was enough to ensure the Australian picked up the stage win. Second-placed Pinot inherited the race lead after Ivan Sosa (Androni-Sidermec) crashed out on the final descent.

Froome now sits 16 seconds back on Pinot with two stages to go.

Describing the day Froome explained: "It was a short but intense stage today and it was a very tactical race. Astana had the numbers there today, so for me logically it made sense to stick with them and work with them on the final climb to bring back the attacks that had gone earlier in the day.
 
"Over the top of the final climb it was just about trying to get back to the front of the race and neutralise that group with Pinot and Pozzovivo who had gone over to the break.
 
"I enjoyed going down the final descent. It wasn’t dangerous but it was fast, so it was good fun. I also knew I had to use that descent to close that gap to the group in front because if we got down to the flat I think it would have been difficult to get people to commit to work. So I took the responsibility there on the descent and did everything I could to close the gap.
 
"From my side the team was really good. Kenny, again, was fantastic today in the final, as was David de la Cruz."
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Fresh from another good climbing showing Elissonde talked us through a tough stage.

He explained: "A break went after around 30km and after that it was pretty quiet until the penultimate climb. Straight from the bottom of the Passo della Mendola it was full gas attacking, including GC contenders. We tried to manage it and to keep Froomey in a good position without doing too much effort. But quickly it became very hard as there were constant attacks.

"In the end with David we tried to pace it in order to stay up front. Then when Pinot went we tried to lean on Astana to work. But quickly the group got one minute, so we had to try on the final climb to really go hard. The plan was to try to reduce the gap and then maybe Froomey could cross. In the end he was able to do that which was good.

"But it was a good bike race and a lot of effort. It's nice to race full-on like this. I'm feeling good and it's nice to be up there every day. My plan across the week is to try and be as consistent as possible."

Stage three result:
 
1. Ben O’Connor (Dimension Data) 3:30:05
2. Thibault Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) +5"
3. Dominico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida) +5”
4. George Bennett (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) s.t.
5. Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) s.t.
6. Chris Froome (Team Sky) s.t.
 
Overall standings:

1. Thibault Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) 10:52:19
2. Dominico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida) +15”
3. Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) s.t.
4. Chris Froome (Team Sky) +16”
5. Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates) +50”

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