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Le Tour de France 2012 – Stage 17: Bagnères-de-Luchon – Peyragudes, 144 km.


I wasn’t sure about the ‘blip’ at La Toussuire when Froome distanced Wiggins in the finale – I thought it was ‘mountain out of molehill’ stuff.

Although we did hear that Wiggins was ‘raging’, that night in his room.

But today, there seemed little doubt that a message was being sent; ‘I can drop you any time I want.’

The body language and facial expressions around the team aren’t relaxed, happy or positive.

But there’s little doubt now that Brad will win – barring Acts of God.

Le Tour de France 2012 - Stage 17
The view from the hotel room in Pradets, Spain.
Le Tour de France 2012 - Stage 17
Like a lot of folk on the race, we make the journey back into France from the hotel. Here we’re following the Lotto team convoy.

It’s so hard to take in what’s actually happening on the roads of France – two British riders in first and second positions in le Tour.

But not only that, the guy who is second could actually win the race, too.

The word is that Froome is on huge money with Sky.

Le Tour de France 2012 - Stage 17
Demonstrably the strongest man in the race, Chris Froome exits the team car and heads for the bus.

As an athlete, you have a certain shelf life, you have to make the most of those all to brief years when you’re in the limelight.

Al Hamilton gave us this tidbit, the other day;

“Sarroni was saying on RAI Sport the other day that he had a verbal agreement with Froome at La Vuelta last year that he would be with Lampre-ISD this year; but Sky offered him 10 times what he could.”

Froome did what he thought was the right thing at the time, but now, when he sees that a Tour win is within his grasp, he wouldn’t be human if he didn’t have twinges of regret and frustration that he didn’t go for less euros but undisputed team captaincy.

And remember that but for an ill-timed puncture, Froome would be going in to the time trial, tomorrow neck and neck with Wiggins.

Imagine Froome with half a dozen battle hardened Italian, Spanish or East Europeans at his disposal – none of them with dreams of personal glory.

And in a squadra where it’s ‘all for Chris’ with no sprinter to cloud the waters.

Conjecture, of course.

Le Tour de France 2012 - Stage 17
Samuel Dumoulin.
Le Tour de France 2012 - Stage 17
Gorka Izaguirre Insausti spends a few minutes with a pal.