Toughest day of Tour so far sees Froome stay top

 
Julian Harris
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BRITAIN’S Chris Froome overcame one of the hardest rides of his career yesterday, to maintain his grip on the yellow jersey at the Tour de France – despite losing the support of his Team Sky colleagues for most of stage nine.

A determined ride in the Pyrenees saw Froome come in 14th, three places behind Spanish rival Alejandro Valverde who is now one minute and 25 seconds behind the Brit. Ireland’s Daniel Martin won the stage in four hours, 43 minutes and three seconds.

“That was a really hard day, one of the hardest I’ve ever had on a bike,” Froome said.

“It’s quite normal for my team-mates to be feeling it a bit. They are human and they can’t be doing it every day.”

Team Sky’s Peter Kennaugh was involved in an early crash, while Richie Porte, despite starting second, could not keep up with the pace and finished nearly 18 minutes behind the stage winner.