BRITAIN’S Chris Froome admitted his surprise after taking a huge stride towards the Tour de France title with a formidable stage victory yesterday.
Froome left his yellow jersey rivals trailing with a surge up Mont Ventoux in Provence and now leads the race by more than four minutes with six stages remaining.
The Kenya-born Team Sky rider won stage 15 by 21 seconds from Colombian Nairo Quintana of Movistar and now leads Dutchman Bauke Mollema by four minutes, 14 seconds in the general classification, with main rival Alberto Contador of Spain a further 11 seconds behind.
“My main objective was to get more of a buffer on the general classification riders but I didn’t see myself winning the stage,” said Froome, who caught Quintana 1.2km from the finish.
The Tour’s longest stage features a monument to Britain’s Tommy Simpson, who died on the ascent in 1967, and Froome added: “This climb is so historic and means so much to this race.”
Australian Richie Porte paced Froome as they and Contador chased down Quintana and Mikel Nieve, before the Briton kicked on without response with 7km to go.