Chris Froome produced a memorable ride on stage ten of the Tour de France as he stormed to a Bastille Day victory and tightened his grip on the yellow jersey.
On the first mountain stage of this year’s Tour Froome – ably assisted by Team Sky colleagues Geraint Thomas and Australian Richie Porte – made an emphatic statement of intent on La Pierre St Martin.
Froome crossed the line in 4:22.07 – 59 seconds ahead of Porte in second and opened a 2:52 minute gap on American Tejay van Garderen in the general classification.
During Monday’s rest day the Team Sky man suggested that the pressure was on everybody else to make their move as he sat 12 seconds in front of his rivals.
Some appeared to heed that warning as Movistar led the way on the ascent following Brit Alex Dowsett’s strong shift.
But the gap never appeared and when Alejandro Valverde made a move he was quickly hunted down by Thomas.
All the while Froome sat and waited until he was alone with Porte and Nairo Quintana.
A quick burst left both behind and also had Froome speechless afterwards.
“I’m lost for words, that was unbelievable,” he said.
“I couldn’t believe it when I asked the guys to push on a little bit and we were just hearing on the radio the big names who were getting dropped.
“It was textbook from the team, the guys just rode such a good race, I’m just over the moon to be given the opportunity to finish it off for them.”
While the day could be remembered as one where Froome began his ascent to a second Tour title following his 2013 success, it came in no small part because of the efforts of Thomas.
The 29-year-old was tireless in his efforts and was delighted to see his teammate open a gap up on his closest rivals.
"I knew Froomey would be good but we all stepped up really," Thomas said.
"The plan was to sit behind Movistar and see how many riders we had left - we had four and we all felt good. Froomey said on the radio he felt good so let’s smash it. Personally I felt great and for the team it was even better.
"To be riding like that on a climb, following Alejandro Valverde and dropping Tejay van Garderen, what a day."
© Sportsbeat 2015