Team Sky’s Chris Froome says that he has “no excuses” for slipping behind on the Peyragudes finish on stage 12 and losing the Tour de France‘s yellow leader’s jersey, saying that he just lacked the power.
Froome slipped behind by 22 seconds when arriving at the summit finish and with the time bonuses lost, moved to second overall at six seconds behind Fabio Aru (Astana).
“It was certainly a tough day for me in the final,” Froome said. “My team-mates did such an amazing job for me today, but I didn’t have the legs to finish it of.
“No excuses, I just didn’t have the legs on the final kick.”
Froome had his team work over the Port de Balès and Col de Peyresourde climbs. Michal Kwiatkowski pulled with a huge effort, Mikel Nieve and Mikel Landa followed.
Sky appeared in control, not even a little slip on the descent when Nieve went off road and Froome and Aru followed could disrupt Froome’s yellow run.
“There was a bit of a tight turn at the bottom of the climb, a couple of us just overshot the corner,” said Froome. “I just had to go onto the grass, and turn around and come back on.”
He led by 18 seconds at the start of the day, but that changed on the short and steep final kick to Peyragudes’s airstrip.
“It’s brutal. Ramps of over 20 per cent, that’s a really hard, hard finish,” Froome continued. “I can only say congratulations to Romain Bardet for winning the stage and also to Fabio Aru for taking the jersey. The race is certainly on, now.”
Froome just finished his warm-down and would have been thinking “what now?”
For the first time in the race, Sky does not have the yellow jersey after its run with Geraint Thomas and Froome.
Anything appears possible tomorrow with Aru leading by 22 seconds over Froome, 25 seconds over Bardet and 55 seconds over Rigoberto Urán (Cannondale-Drapac).
The tightly packed leading group faces a short 101-kilometre mountain stage on Friday to Foix, stages in the Alps next week and in Froome’s favour, a final 22.5-kilometre time trial in Marseille next Saturday.
Froome added, “It’s certainly going to be a big fight now from here to Paris.”