Team Sky may have held the yellow jersey since the opening stage of the Tour de France, but race leader Chris Froome says he wouldn’t mind giving the jersey away to a breakaway rider over the weekend.
Saturday and Sunday see the riders head into the Jura and the Alps, with the first HC climbs coming on Sunday’s stage nine to Chambéry.
Sky have held the jersey since Geraint Thomas took it in Düsseldorf, but current race leader Chris Froome says the team wouldn’t be averse to letting go of yellow.
“For us in the team we wouldn’t mind leaving the yellow to the right breakaway,” Froome said after a largely uneventful stage from Troyes to Nuits-St-Georges.
“If it was a breakaway without no real threat to the overall title… but having said that, we certainly wouldn’t be willing give it up to any of my rivals.”
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If Sky were to hold the jersey from start to finish they would be the first team to achieve the feat since Faemino-Faema in 1970, but Froome is expecting a challenging couple of days in the mountains this weekend, picking out the climb of Mont du Chat on Sunday as particularly important.
“It is going to be an important block these next two days, certainly Sunday’s stage is going to be very decisive, it’s going to be a lot of climbing and we’ll see a lot of damage more than at the Dauphiné on that climb [Mont du Chat].”
The 8.7km climb, which averages more than 10 per cent and includes 15 per cent ramps midway up, was included in stage six of the Criterium du Dauphiné, preceded by one third category and one fourth category climb.
However stage nine of the Tour includes two HC climbs, the Col de la Biche and the Grand Colombier before Mont du Chat, as well as four other smaller climbs.
“I’m grateful that I’ve seen the climb and I know what I’m up against,” Froome continued. “It’s a very steep climb and it comes after some other climbs.”
“It’s going to be a much tougher stage than the Dauphine given the climbs that come before it. I think Sunday’s stage is going to be a lot more decisive than tomorrow.”