Team Sky and Movistar are 'paralysing the Tour de France'

Rival teams say that the apparent stalemate between Team Sky and Movistar is affecting the Tour de France

(Image credit: Watson)

The 2016 Tour de France is going well for Chris Froome, but some cycling insiders say that it lacks the excitement of past editions.

Froome attacked on a descent and into crosswinds to gain time before time trialling away from his rivals.

He leads by 1-47 minutes over Dutchman Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) as the race takes its second rest day. The margin is to a point where Froome says that he feels safe riding defensively from Bern to Paris on Sunday.

The lack of a yellow jersey battle back and forth, between Froome, Quintana or anyone else has some worried.

>>> Chris Froome’s Tour de France dominance ‘has to be discouraging for the other guys’

"It may be boring, but you could have guessed it before the Tour," Etixx-Quick Step boss Patrick Lefevere told Cycling Weekly.

"Two teams have paralysed the Tour, Sky and Movistar. The others are trying to win, but those teams control and are strong. They are not interested in making an exciting Tour, their goal is to win the Tour."

Behind Froome, seven riders are within three minutes of each other and the second place spot. The risk is that they start to look at each other, and not the overall, which could further diminish the yellow jersey battle.

Watch: Tour de France final week preview

"No one can make a difference. You can only hope that some of the top guys have a bad day in the mountains and struggle, that's what the public wants to see,” Lefevere added

"The yellow jersey is not such suspense anymore, green either. So you start to have a team classification battle and fifth place chasing fourth place, 10th chasing ninth."

"I'm on the motorbike every day, I see a real battle for the stage, but we have to admit, for the yellow jersey, it feels like a procession behind Sky and Chris Froome," France Television commentator and former Tour stage winner, Cédric Vasseur said.

Chris Froome on stage 16 of the 2016 Tour de France

Chris Froome on stage 16 of the 2016 Tour de France
(Image credit: Watson)

"Chris is a champion, he showed that in the first week with his ability to descend and go in the crosswinds. I'm not impressed with his rivals. Quintana is not at the same level. Alberto Contador crashed two times, unfortunately.

“I'd like to say, 'Please, Alberto come back.' We need him, even when he is not at his top level, he attacks. That's really what is missing.

"It's difficult to understand why. Everyone knows the Tour de France is in July, they have to be 100 per cent, but we have the feeling they are preparing for the Vuelta. I hope it's not true. Or maybe its the Olympics. We can't say anything bad about Vincenzo Nibali, he won the Giro, but please guys, attack!"

>>> ‘It would be disappointing for Team Sky if they didn’t win the Tour de France with the budget they have’

Froome worked to achieve his lead in both his training and racing. His attack on the Peyresourde descent not only gained him time, but gained him fans. Now, Team Sky would be happy for the race to continue without many heavy attacks on Fortress Froome.

"Maybe [it's boring], but we don’t get paid to make it an exciting race," Geraint Thomas explained. "We get paid to win the race, so I really don’t care.

"It might seem that way in the mountains. Maybe they want to see big, long-range attacks, but if any other teams were in the same position, they’d do the exact same thing. That’s the best way to get the results for us."

9 July 2016 103rd Tour de France Stage 08 : Pau - Bagneres-de-Luchon Chris Froome wins stage seven of the 2016 Tour de France (Sunada)

Chris Froome wins stage eight of the 2016 Tour de France (Sunada)
(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

"It's exciting, but maybe it's more to do with the finishes, which are sometimes downhill," Team Sky's sports director, Servais Knaven added.

"Arcalís sounded tough, but it's not a steep climb. We saw attacks, but it was more in the background with the breakaway. You get a different dimension when you also have the classification men fighting for the stage win."

>>> Tour de France 2016: Latest news, reports and info

With four Alpine stages remaining, one an uphill time trial, BMC Racing director Valerio Piva and Knaven both said that viewers should keep watching closely.

"I don't think this year's race is much different than other years," Knaven explained. "And the best is yet to come."

BMC Racing is taking part with both Richie Porte and Tejay van Garderen as contenders.

"I say, wait until the third week to make up your mind," added Piva, "because people are saving their firepower for the third week."

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