Chris Froome enjoys best day on the bike in years on the Tour de France
L’ALPE D’HUEZ, France—Chris Froome was often booed during his years of Tour de France domination, but on Thursday the four-time champion was cheered in the climb to L’Alpe d’Huez as he enjoyed his best day on a bike since a career-threatening crash three years ago.
The Briton took third place, after managing to get into the day’s breakaway, for his first podium finish in almost four years.
While it quickly appeared that he would not claim his first stage victory since winning the Giro d’Italia 1,509 days ago as his compatriot Tom Pidcock rode away with 10.5km left in the 13.8-km ascent at 8.1%, Froome hung on for dear life.
His head and shoulders wobbling as he fought gravity, the Israel-Premier Tech rider managed to stay ahead of American Neilson Powless to take a morale-boosting third place, two minutes six seconds behind Pidcock.
So many people wrote him off.
— ITV Cycling (@itvcycling) July 14, 2022
Froome jumped away from the peloton in the final part of the ascent to the Col du Galibier. He was rejoined and dropped in the descent by Pidcock, but the Ineos-Grenadiers rider eased off so both could join their efforts to catch the breakaway group.
The group went from nine to five when Pidcock accelerated 5km from the top of the Col de la Croix de Fer and Froome was still there. He gradually lost sight of Pidcock and Louis Meintjes, but the 37-year-old was proud of his performance.
“I gave it everything I had today and I don’t have any regrets,” he said. “Where I’ve come from in the last three years, to finish third on one of the hardest stages of the Tour, I can be really happy with that.
“Naturally I would have loved to put my hands in the air and win the stage but no regrets. I didn’t have any more to give on that final climb. Tom and Louis had more in the engine than me today,” he added.
Froome, however, hinted that he would give it another go before the Tour finishes in Paris on July 24.
“I’m going to keep pushing. I don’t know where my limits are. I’ll keep trying to improve and hopefully get back to winning ways again,” he said.