Chris Froome and Team Sky survived an onslaught of attacks from their general classification rivals to remain within touching distance of the overall lead at the Tour of the Alps. Froome currently sits in fourth place, 16 seconds back from the overall leader Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ).
Though it came with more than 60 kilometres from the finish in Merano, the first climb of the Passo della Mendola was the site of attacks from the GC riders. Team Sky tried to maintain a level of control of the bunch, but a move containing Pinot, Domenico Pozzovivo and Mark Padun (both Bahrain-Merida), and eventual stage winner Ben O’Connor (Dimension Data), went off the front with just over 50 kilometres of the stage remaining.
Froome did briefly set off in chase of the four, together with Astana’s Miguel Angel Lopez, but they sat up and ultimately relied on their teammates to close the gap. Kenny Elissonde was once again the last man standing for Froome on the final climb.
“It was a short but intense stage today, and it was a very tactical race,” Froome said after the stage. “Astana had the numbers there today, so for me, logically, it made sense to stick with them and work with them on the final climb to bring back the attacks that had gone earlier in the day.
“From my side, the team was really good. Kenny, again, was fantastic today in the final, as was David de la Cruz.”
The breakaway began to look quite dangerous as they worked with the remnants of the day’s earlier move and held an advantage of close to a minute as they began the final climb. Eventually, however, Sky’s efforts began to come good, and as they crested the top of the Passo Palade the gap had been halved.
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