As Chris Froome rode alone for over 80km, from the dirt roads of the Colle delle Finestre to the finish above Bardonecchia, there was a sense of astonishment amongst those watching the Giro d’Italia along the roadside, at the finish line and even amongst those at the team buses parked at the foot of the final climb.
From the moment Froome punched the air to win the stage, relegating Tom Dumoulin, who finished 3:23 down, again to second place 40 seconds down in the overall classification, the significance of Froome’s performance was set in stone. With one mountain stage left to race before the final parade stage in Rome on Sunday, Froome appears set to win his third consecutive Grand Tour after taking the 2017 Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana. Nobody has done what Froome and Team Sky have done in the recent, modern history of the sport.
It is difficult to put Froome’s triumph into context and compare it with similar performances. It is historic, especially after he struggled earlier in the race after crashing hard before the Jerusalem time trial.
Italian television quickly compared it to rides by Fausto Coppi in the forties and fifties by the way he attacked alone and then time trialled to victory. Others compared it to Floyd Landis’ solo attack to Morzine at the 2006 Tour de France. The American had lost time the day before but went on a solo charge across the Alps to set up overall victory. Of course a week after the race, Landis tested positive and was eventually banned for doping.
While the circumstances are quite different, Froome and his lawyers continue to argue his salbutamol case as he races at the Giro d’Italia, hoping that an eventual guilty verdict will not cost him his victories at this race and last year’s Vuelta.
Team Sky manager Dave Brailsford, who appeared at the Team Sky bus post-stage, is convinced Froome’s result will stand the test of time, describing it as one of Team Sky’s best ever moments.
— LottoNLJumbo Cycling (@LottoJumbo_road) May 25, 2018
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