Spoiler: Dominating Performance at Tour Leads to Suspicions
Climbing nearly on-par with that from the EPO era
Chris Froome put in a dominating performance on the first mountain stage of the Tour de France, soloing to the finish at Ax 3 Domaines over 50 seconds ahead of the nearest finisher—teammate Richie Porte. Most of the other favorites crumbled on the day, with Alejandro Valverde finishing the best at only 1:08 back.
“I couldn’t be happier,” said Froome after the stage. “It has been a nervous week leading up to this.” He thanked his teammates and said that he wanted to win today “to pay them back.”
Froome now leads by over a minute over Porte with Valverde in third. Contador lost a very surprising 1:45, with Schleck down 3:34, and Evans losing more than four minutes. It appeared that Porte could have further distanced Valverde, but he was reluctant to chase and jeopardize his teammate’s gap.
The performance immediately raised suspicions on Twitter given the speed of speed of Fromme’s ascent: “Best times up Ax-3-Domaines 1. Laiseka 2001 22:57 2. Armstrong 22:59 2001 3. Froome 23:14 2013,” Race Radio quipped, leaving the rest to the reader.