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.
But the Sky man held on to cross the line 13 seconds ahead of Dan Martin (Etixx-Quick Step) and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), among others, to lead the race by 16 seconds.
"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.
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Stuart Clarke is a News Associates trained journalist who has worked for the likes of the British Olympic Associate, British Rowing and the England and Wales Cricket Board, and of course Cycling Weekly. His work at Cycling Weekly has focused upon professional racing, following the World Tour races and its characters.
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