Froome in control despite Sky's near miss

Sun Jul 12, 2015 11:59am EDT
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By Julien Pretot

PLUMELEC, France (Reuters) - Chris Froome stayed firmly on track for the Tour de France title when he retained the overall leader's yellow jersey after the ninth stage, a 28-kilometre team time trial won by the slimmest of margins by BMC Racing on Sunday.

Heading into Monday's rest day, Froome has the edge over his main rivals, who were hoping to take advantage of the Briton's supposed weaknesses in the tricky opening block of racing.

The 2013 champion will now be keen to all but wrap up the race as it goes into the mountains -- the Pyrenees in the second week and the Alps in the third.

On Sunday, BMC Racing clocked 32 minutes 15 seconds to beat Sky by one second and Froome now leads American Tejay van Garderen by 12 seconds overall.

"If you had told me I'd be in yellow at this point I would not have believed it," Froome told reporters.

"It's definitely not for me to be attacking at the moment. Right now the biggest rival is Tejay van Garderen."

According to France's Thibaut Pinot, third in last year's Tour, "Froome is as strong as in 2013".

"I'd like to think so," Froome replied.   Continued...

Team Sky rider Chris Froome of Britain wears the race leader's yellow jersey on the podium after the 28km (17.7 miles)  team time-trial 9th stage  of the 102nd Tour de France cycling race from Vannes to Plumelec, France, July 12, 2015.REUTERS/Eric Gaillard