AG2R attack again but Froome retain yellow

Last week at the Tour de France with fi’zi:k

An incredible team effort from fi’zi:k-equipped Team Sky ensured Chris Froome (Antares R1) retained the yellow jersey as the 2017 Tour de France reached Monday’s second rest day and entered the final week.

Sunday’s 189.5km stage from Laissac-Severac l’Eglise to Le Puy-en-Velay saw Froome puncture within the last 40km, but brilliant teamwork from Froome’s teammates saw the Brit finish in the GC group 6:25mins behind stage winner Bauke Mollema. Froome leads Fabio Aru by 18 seconds, third-placed Romain Bardet by 23 seconds (fi’zi:k Arione VSX and AG2R La Mondiale) and is 29 seconds ahead of fourth-placed Rigoberto Uran (fi’zi:k Aliante and Cannondale-Drapac).

An attack from fi’zi:k-sponsored AG2R La Mondiale caused panic in Team Sky, compounded by a puncture for Froome. Michal Kwiatkowski (fi’zi:k Antares VS) swiftly replaced his rear wheel with Froome’s before Mikel Nieve (fi’zi:k Antares R1) and Sergio Henao (fi’zi:k Antares R3) began the chase. Up ahead, Mikel Landa (fi’zi:k Arione VS) dropped back from the GC group to help bridge the gap that, at one point on the first-category Col de Peyra, peaked at 45 seconds.

‘AG2R rode their race and rode fast,’ Froome said at the finish. ‘Then just before the climb, I had a problem with my back wheel – it was damaged. Kwiatkowski gave me his wheel because the team car was stuck behind. I gave it my maximum to get back up to the leaders.’

There are now six stages left of this year’s Tour de France with two standing out. On Friday, the 178km stage from Briancon to Izoard finishes at the summit of the brutal Col d’Izoard for the first time in its illustrious history. Then a day later, the riders face a 23km time-trial around the streets of Marseille. Will Froome win the race for the fourth time or can Bardet end France’s 32-year wait for the title?