Great Britain’s Chris Froome again left rival Alberto Contador in his wake despite cracking on Thursday’s 18th stage of the Tour de France that was won by Frenchman Christophe Riblon.
Froome, in a group of three chasing the leading riders, was clearly in trouble in the final 5km as he climbed l’Alpe d’Huez for the second time on the 172.5km stage.
He sent teammate Richie Porte back to the team car to fetch some food and drink and the Australian nursed Froome to the line.
for early attacks
Luckily for Froome, his main rival, Contador, had already paid the price for earlier attacks on the mountainous stage and the Spaniard finished almost a minute behind the yellow jersey.
The former Tour champion is now five minutes, 11 seconds behind Froome in the overall standings, with three stages left to race.
Riblon’s stage victory was France’s first of this year’s Tour, celebrating its 100th edition.
The AG2R rider produced a determined ride up the final stages of l’Alpe d’Huez and passed leader Tejay van Garderen of the U.S. with just over 1km to go. Italian Moser Moreno was third. — Agencies