Rider of the week
He was supposed to be at the wrong side of the split caused by the crosswinds during stage two of the Tour de France, but ended up gaining time on all his rivals. One day later, he should have had problems on the narrow roads towards the Mur de Huy, but finished second and opened an ever bigger gap on his rivals. On stage four, many were expecting him to crash on the northern cobbles or just be insecure and lose minutes, however, he cruised there and even attacked at some point, before eventually finishing in the same time with the other GC contenders.
For Chris Froome, week one of the Tour de France was an amazing one, much above his expectations, that saw him pull on the yellow jersey and gradually increasing his advantage over Alberto Contador, Vincenzo Nibali, Nairo Quintana and Tejay van Garderen, the other four riders who are credited as favorites at winning the 102nd edition of the race. Due to his excellent performance on the tricky stages that took place in the Netherlands, Belgium and Nord-Pas-de-Calais, the Brit is now more confident and more relaxed with the second week and the first summit finishes looming on the horizon.
By the looks of it, Chris Froome is more powerful than he was two years ago, when he won the Tour de France, and this is a serious concern for all of his opponents, who will have to tactically outmaneuver him on the descents or by forging an alliance in order to make the Sky cyclist lose time. If this won’t happen, the general feeling is that Froome will kill the fight for the yellow jersey as soon as Thursday, when the peloton will tackle Plateau de Beille, one of the most difficult climbs of this year’s edition.