Tour de France 2016
10 Jul 2016
Only small skirmishes in the Pyrenees: despite the absolute domination of his team, Chris Froome failed to make a difference on the first mountains.
Only a spectacular downhill attack earned him about twenty seconds on the most dangerous rivals, Nairo Quintana above all.
In the crucial stage to Andorra, after an early attack by Contador and Valverde, easily controlled by Team Sky, the pace on the climbs was not that impressive with VAM values around 1400-1500 m/h, also due to the scorching heat.
On the final climb to Andorra (10 km at 7.2%) the numerous accelerations of the best riders determined a VAM of 1630 m/h (6.3 w/kg), despite a strong hailstorm that cooled body temperatures, but froze leg muscles.
Generally, the level shown so far by the best climbers was rather mediocre, the competitive spirit restrained by caution: no one dared attacking far away from the finish, everybody has been simply waiting for the final kilometers, thus helping Froome's own game, who however appeared always on top of the situation. Quintana never even got out of the wake of the Team Sky's captain, perhaps waiting for a possible decline of the british rider in the third week.
The first rider forced to abandon the race came during the 7th stage, a sign of an early part of the TdF less demanding than usual.
Alberto Contador was forced to abandon the race on the way to Andorra, after testing his condition in the first part of the day. Two crashes in the first stages, plus a feverish condition deprived the race of one of the most awaited protagonists, even though, his form in the pre-TdF races had not shown to be his best.