Inventive Froome takes charge after stunning attack

Sat Jul 9, 2016 12:36pm EDT
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By Julien Pretot

BAGNERES DE LUCHON, France (Reuters) - Briton Chris Froome stunned his passive rivals to snatch the overall leader's yellow jersey in the Tour de France when he won the eighth stage with a lightning attack on the final descent on Saturday.

The Team Sky rider sped away from a group of overall favorites at the top of the last of four grueling climbs in the Pyrenees and never looked back as he raced down at breakneck speed towards the line.

The defending champion, who is chasing a third Tour title, finished 13 seconds ahead of Ireland's Dan Martin (Etixx-Quick Step) and Spaniard Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha).

Last year's runner-up Nairo Quintana (Movistar), who failed to attack on a searing hot day, was in the group featuring Martin and Rodriguez.

Double champion Alberto Contador lost further ground after being dropped near the top of the Col de Peyresourde, the last ascent of the 184-km stage.

Overall, Froome leads fellow Briton Adam Yates (Orica-Bike Exchange) and Rodriguez, who are second and third respectively, by 16 seconds.

"It was a bit of fun. I thought I would give it (attacking downhill) a try. That was real old-school bike racing," said Froome.

Expected to attack on the climbs, the Briton took his opponents by surprise.   Continued...

Cycling - Tour de France cycling race - The 184-km (114,5 miles) Stage 8 from Pau to Bagneres-de-Luchon, France - 09/07/2016 - Team Sky rider Chris Froome, new yellow jersey leader, reacts on the podium after winning the stage.  REUTERS/Juan Medina