Tuesday, 12 July 2016
Chris Froome and his Sky manager Dave Brailsford have questioned the tactics of chief rival Nairo Quintana at the Tour de France.
The defending champion led the Colombian by 23 seconds ahead of Tuesday’s 10th stage from Andorra to Revel, back in France.
But over three Pyrenean mountain stages, Quintana failed to attack Froome, leaving the Briton and his team perplexed.
“I would be interested to find out from him (why he didn’t attack),” said Froome, 31.
“I was expecting an attack from him (on Sunday) and was keeping something in reserve, and in the back of my mind just waiting for his big move. But it never came.”
There may be 12 stages left in the Tour but Froome’s Sky have the yellow jersey and are set up to defend it.
“It really is a good place to be at the moment, I’m really happy to have the yellow jersey on my shoulders,” said Froome.
“Tactically, but also for morale and for the team. Tactically it puts the shoe on the other foot — it’s up to other teams now to go out to try to gain back time they’ve lost already.”
Quintana admits he could lose time to Froome in Friday’s 13th stage time-trial but says he’s happy with the position he finds himself in.
“Froome is quite strong, his team is quite strong but I’m better than previous years,” said the 26-year-old Colombian.
“I’ve got more maturity. I hope to get through the time-trial, that’s where I’m weakest in relation to him.
“We’ll see day by day, both me and the team. There’s a long way to go in the Tour, a lot of mountains — you can’t lay down your whole life on just one day.
“You have to take it slowly to see how your rivals are and where the possibility to attack will be.”
– ‘Compact race’ –
Brailsford said he’s been surprised that other teams, not just Quintana’s Movistar, have simply let Sky control the race, rather than trying to put them into difficulty.
“We’ve seen Chris attack, we’ve seen a couple of other skirmishes if you like, but as of yet it’s been a relatively compact race,” he said.
“At the end of the day there’s only one team controlling this race, that’s us.
“No other team has made any attempt to control the race. We controlled the race even when one of the big teams (BMC) was in the (yellow) jersey.
“At some point in time, either the race gets taken on and (with) some of the other teams we have a battle with it, or we’re going to continue to control the race until a couple of key showdowns.”
Froome believes the race so far has shown he’s simply got the strongest teammates to fall back on.
“With the team that I’ve got, I think they’ve shown themselves over the last few days, just in terms of numbers in the final, we do have the strongest team here,” he said.
“I’m confident the guys will be able to ride in that defensive way to help me.
“When it comes to that final moment, even when other GC riders have only got one or two teammates left, I’m sitting there with four or five and that’s certainly going to work in my favour.”
But Movistar manager Eusebio Unzue said his team are merely biding their time.
“We’re concentrating on effectiveness, there’s no prize for the one who attacks the most,” he said.
“The compensation will come from being effective, either through attacking or through great defence.”
Source by: AFP