FROOME IN YELLOW; FRODENO SMASHES IRON RECORD

Chris Froome, riding his fi’zi:k Antares full carbon saddle to great effect, enters the third and final week of the 2016 Tour de France with a 1min 47sec lead over Bauke Mollema and 2min 45sec clear of fellow Brit Adam Yates in third. His biggest threat on paper, Movistar’s Nairo Quintana (fi’zi:k Antares 00), sits in fourth with the looming threat of the Alps yet to come.

Sunday’s 15th stage weaved 159km from Bourg-en-Bresse to Culoz. On the way, the riders negotiated six categorized climbs – three of them Category 1 or Hors Category including the final climb, dubbed the Lacets du Grand Colombier, ascending 8.4km at an average gradient of 7.6%.

Astana and Fabio Aru pushed hard to break free from the pack, leaving Froome with just Mikel Nieve (fi’zi:k Antares R1) and Woet Poels (fi’z:k Antares VS ) for support on the roads around Culoz. But that proved sufficient as Froome retained the advantage he’d carved out from Friday’s time trial in Pont d’Arc.

Special mention must go to Alejandro Valverde (fi’zi:k Arione VSX and Movistar) and Romain Bardet (fi’zi:k Arione VSX and AG2R La Mondiale) who pushed the Briton all the way but couldn’t break his indomitable spirit.

Many feel the victory is as good as Froome’s and that Quintana is suffering with an illness. But with four days in the Alps from stage 17, that 1min 47sec lead could disappear in an instant. Or not if Froome remains at his brilliant best…

It’s not only Froome who’s unleashing world-class bike – and run – performances. On Sunday, Germany’s Jan Frodeno (fi’zi:k Tritone saddle) smashed the iron-distance record (3.8km swim/180km bike/42.2km run) at Challenge Roth. The 2008 Olympic champion and reigning Ironman and 70.3 world champion’s 7:35:39 beat countryman Andreas Raelert’s existing record by nearly 6 minutes.