Not too early to be in yellow for Froome

Mon Jul 6, 2015 1:37pm EDT
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By Julien Pretot

HUY, Belgium (Reuters) - It is too soon to say Chris Froome will win the Tour de France but not too early for him to be in yellow as it puts the Briton in a perfect place ahead of Tuesday's feared fourth stage over potentially dangerous cobbles.

Team Sky's Froome snatched the overall lead after finishing second in Monday's third stage up the Mur de Huy, forcing his team to defend the yellow jersey early in the race -- a task that will wear his mates down in a particularly grueling Tour.

Team manager Dave Brailsford explained that Sky would lead the line of sports directors cars, meaning they will be first to assist in case of mechanical problems which usually come by the handful on the cobbles.

"It means we're car number one. For that point of view it's perfect (to have the yellow jersey)," he told reporters.

Once again, being at the front of the peloton will be key to avoiding being held up behind a crash but fighting for that position comes at a cost.

"Tomorrow is going to be a nervous stage, you try to stay in the race and use a bit of energy, but we're willing to spend a gamble on it to get through this," Brailsford said.

"If you ride on the front because you've got the (yellow) jersey it kinds of helps you, you're not pushing someone out of the way. You're there because you're leading the race."

Froome crashed out of the Tour last year in the fifth stage, which also featured cobbles, even before riding through the first sector.   Continued...

Team Sky rider Chris Froome of Britain celebrates as he wears the race leader's yellow jersey on the podium of the third stage of the 102nd Tour de France cycling race from Anvers to Huy, July 6, 2015.  REUTERS/Eric Gaillard