Chris Froome tried something new on stage eight of the Tour de France. Attacking on a descent and winning a flat finish was something that the Team Sky leader had not experience before at the Tour, but the gamble paid off and propelled him into the yellow jersey.
The 31-year-old tried to get away from his rivals on the final climb, the Col de Peyresourde, but couldn’t distance himself enough to make a decisive move.
But one final burst just before the summit saw the two-time Tour winner extend a lead down the fast descent and all the way to the finish line in Bagnères-de-Luchon.
“I felt like a kid again out there just trying to race my bike as fast as I could,” Froome said while sitting in his latest yellow jersey.
“It was such a hard stage – there was barely time for a nature break. It really was one of the hardest stages I’ve done in a long time. I thought I needed to make the most of it, so I gave it a go on the climb and that didn’t really work.”
Watch: Tour de France stage eight highlights
The descent lasted almost until the finish line, with a twisting final kilometre through the town not necessarily working in Froome’s favour.
“I thought I’d give it one more go at the top of the climb and try and pull away on the descent,” he said.
“I’m really glad I did take that risk. I didn’t take a massive gap but I’m in yellow this evening and that’s a massive surprise.”
Stage nine in Andorra features the race’s first real summit finish, taking the peloton to 2,240m in Andorre Arcalis.