Dumoulin wins stage, Froome carries lead into rest day
By Julien Pretot
ARCALIS, Andorra (Reuters) - Tom Dumoulin of the Netherlands attacked near the foot of the final climb to win the ninth stage of the Tour de France in extreme weather conditions as Alberto Contador pulled out of the race on Sunday.
Giant Alpecin rider Dumoulin, sixth in last year's Vuelta, was the strongest of the day’s breakaway riders, taking a solo victory in a deafening hailstorm after riding most of the day in temperatures nearing 40 degrees Celsius.
The Dutchman completed his set of grand tour stage wins after prevailing in the Vuelta and the Giro d'Italia.
Briton Chris Froome retained the overall leader’s yellow jersey after controlling his closest rivals in the ascent to Arcalis, a 10.1km effort at an average gradient of 7.2 percent.
The Team Sky rider leads compatriot Adam Yates (Orica-Bike Exchange) by 16 seconds and Ireland's Dan Martin (Etixx-Quick Step) by 19.
"It's still a very open race at this point, I'm really happy to come into the first rest day as leader," he said.
"There were a lot of attacks in that final climb, I was hoping to gain more time as well. I just made sure to close any gaps and at least finish in the same time as my rivals today."
Contador, who had crashed on the two opening stages and had a fever in the morning, called it quits 104km from the finish line after trying his luck one last time with a vintage early move. Continued...