Cycling: Froome suffers but Dan Martin looks set to strike
A hugely promising start to the season for Chris Froome misfired badly yesterday when the British rider lost a massive 28 minutes to the race leaders in the Volta a Catalunya, that includes Irishman Dan Martin.
The week-long stage race had been touted as a duel between the Team Sky leader and his arch-rival Alberto Contador in their last head-to-head encounter before their showdown in July’s Tour de France.
But yesterday, on the race’s toughest stage through the Pyrenees, Froome - according to the team website, setting his own pace “as he continued his return from illness” - slipped behind the main group of race favourites on the 21km Col de la Creueta, the penultimate climb of the stage.
The 2013 Tour de France winner finished 131st, 27 minutes and 48 seconds behind American stage winner Tejay van Garderen and plummeted out of contention to 67th overall.
Cannondale-Garmin rider Martin finished yesterday’s stage in 4th place, and is 4th in the classifications.
He crossed the line atop the summit finish at the ski station of La Molina eight seconds behind stage winner Van Garderen to move to within 27 seconds of the race lead.
Martin is well poised to strike for the leader’s jersey at 27 seconds with Contador breathing down his next a further second behind.
The Irishman yet again proved he’s in really good form at the moment with an attack out of a front group of around 15 riders with about three kilometres to go.