Froome keeps his yellow jersey and sees red as he blames Contador for their downhill mishap

  • Article by: JEROME PUGMIRE , AP Sports Writer
  • Updated: July 16, 2013 - 12:55 PM

GAP, France — Chris Froome preserved his healthy overall lead after a nervous finish to Tuesday's 16th stage, and then blamed his main Tour de France rival Alberto Contador for a downhill incident that could have ended their races.

Portuguese rider Rui Costa won the stage with a solo breakaway, while behind him the subplot between Contador and Froome thickened with a few days left until the finish line in Paris.

Although Froome is still more than four minutes clear of Contador, the British rider felt he could just as easily have ended up in hospital.

"One little accident and it could be the end of your Tour," Froome said. "In my opinion it was a bit dangerous from Alberto to ride like that, it's not good."

On the final descent down from the Col de Manse, Froome and Contador were undone by a sharp right turn as the Brit chased after the Spaniard.

Froome went off the left side of the road and had to plant his left foot on the ground to stop from toppling off completely. Contador also lost balance and hit his knee on the ground before quickly jumping back up on the bike.

"It actually put me in danger because I had to go off the road to avoid him," Froome said. "He couldn't control his own speed and crashed."

Contador, the 2007 and '09 champion stripped of his '10 title for doping, defended himself.

"It was really difficult. In normal conditions I wouldn't have slipped like that, but it was very difficult terrain and the bike got away from me," he said. "Sometimes you have to go for it, whether it's at the start or the end of a stage."

The incident was reminiscent of the 2003 Tour when Spaniard Joseba Beloki broke his right arm, elbow and wrist after crashing on the descent from Manse.

He lost control of his bike going into a turn at full speed and flew across the road. Lance Armstrong, stripped of his seven Tour titles for serial doping, was riding just behind him and had to take sharp evasive action, swerving off the road and then running across a small field before re-mounting his bike.

"At the moment I'm trying to take as least risks as I can," Froome said. "Everyone knows it's a dangerous descent and we've seen a lot of images from the past ... But I didn't think guys were going to take unnecessary risks there."

Froome seemed to be more than a little exasperated, and his radar will be on red alert in the days to come.

"All teams are starting to get desperate now and they're taking uncalculated risks," he said. "In my mind this Tour is not over until I cross the final line on the Champs-Elysees."

Meanwhile, Costa broke away on the 9.5-kilometer (6-mile) ascent to Manse — the last of the day's three moderate climbs — to secure the second stage win of his Tour career, after winning another hilly stage up to Super Besse ski station in 2011.

He crossed the line 42 seconds ahead of Frenchman Christophe Riblon.

"I knew exactly what I had to do, and every second that I gained going uphill was useful at the end," Costa said through a translator.

Froome and Contador finished more than 11 minutes behind Costa, who is not considered to be a contender.

About halfway up Manse, Contador attacked, but Richie Porte responded and got Sky teammate Froome back on Contador's wheel.

Contador attacked again soon after and opened up a gap of about 50 meters (yards) before being caught, and then tried a third attack.

Bauke Mollema could have gained more time but chose instead to wait for Froome and Contador after their mishap. Mollema remains second overall, 4:14 behind Froome, while Contador remains 4:25 back in third.

Froome will look to extend that lead in Wednesday's time-trial — one of his favored disciplines — before three huge mountain climbs in the Alps.

"It's a very hard day tomorrow with two climbs and two downhills," Froome said. "You have to keep a bit of energy for the following days in the Alps."

The 168-kilometer (104-mile) route started from the Provence village of Vaison-la-Romaine in the heart of the Rhone winemaking country. Early on, about 25 riders started to pull away but started to split open when Costa surged up Manse.

"This win will make us happy," said Costa, whose teammate Alejandro Valverde dropped out of podium contention last week when he lost a lot of time on Friday's 13th stage after stopping for a mechanical failure. "It's my victory, but it's also a victory for the team."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
Utah 101 FINAL
Orlando 94
Charlotte 109 FINAL
Philadelphia 91
Brooklyn 91 FINAL
Cleveland 95
Washington 105 FINAL
Miami 103
Minnesota 98 FINAL
Boston 114
Toronto 110 FINAL
Detroit 100
Chicago 103 FINAL
Memphis 97
Portland 129 FINAL
San Antonio 119
LA Clippers 106 FINAL
Denver 109
Oklahoma City 100 4th Qtr 1:05
LA Lakers 101
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 3
Anaheim 2 FINAL
Ottawa 6
NY Islanders 2 FINAL
Detroit 1
Boston 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Dallas 2 FINAL
Calgary 1
Wilberforce 71 FINAL
Youngstown St 92
Jackson State 49 FINAL
Tulane 56
Siena 66 FINAL
Radford 76
Stillman 49 FINAL
Alabama 69
Case Western Reserve 65 FINAL
Bucknell 88
Niagara 62 FINAL
Buffalo 88
SD Christian 46 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 69
Concordia (MI) 60 FINAL
Central Mich 97
Northern Ill 55 FINAL
Dartmouth 58
North Florida 83 FINAL
Florida A&M 65
Hiwassee 71 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 91
Tennessee St 54 FINAL
Hampton 66
NC A&T 57 FINAL
Kent State 71
Central Penn College 65 FINAL
Liberty 94
Eastern Ky 72 FINAL
Miami-Florida 44
Northern Ky 83 FINAL
Morehead State 60
Northern Ariz 62 FINAL
Norfolk State 81
MD-Eastern Shore 43 FINAL
Old Dominion 60
St Marys-CA 47 FINAL
St Johns 53
Clemson 45 FINAL
South Carolina 68
Tenn Tech 58 FINAL
Tennessee 61
Washington-MD 46 FINAL
William & Mary 86
Bethune-Cookman 46 FINAL
Mercer 67
Furman 78 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 83
South Dakota St 53 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 49
Milligan 53 FINAL
Lamar 80
LSU-Alexandria 71 FINAL
ULM 76
Southern Utah 57 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 73
Chattanooga 58 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 68
Seattle 57 FINAL
Minnesota 92
Lipscomb 55 FINAL
Princeton 77
Winthrop 71 FINAL
SE Louisiana 81
Dickinson State 48 FINAL
North Dakota 78
New Orleans 56 FINAL
Southern Ill 52
TX-Pan American 60 FINAL
Creighton 75
Colorado State 85 FINAL
Denver 84
Alabama A&M 49 FINAL
Marquette 83
Ark-Pine Bluff 51 FINAL
Texas Tech 72
Eastern Wash 67 FINAL
California 78
Idaho State 56 FINAL
Utah State 69
Arizona 46 2nd Half 7:23
Texas-El Paso 41
Hawaii 55 2nd Half
Chaminade 32
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Ohio Valley 33 FINAL
Youngstown St 84
East Tenn St 48 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 61
Cal-Irvine 44 FINAL
Purdue 69
Campbell 63 FINAL
Stetson 76
Jacksonville St 70 FINAL
Charleston Southern 43
Louisiana 64 FINAL
Alcorn State 57
Denver 63 FINAL
Wright State 72
Blue Mountain 30 FINAL
Central Arkansas 71
Texas State 51 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 40
Albany 62 FINAL
Pepperdine 36
TX-San Antonio 53 FINAL
Houston 56
Yale 66 FINAL
Bucknell 73
Northern Colorado 56 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 69
Belmont 86 FINAL
Mercer 83
Massachusetts 66 FINAL
Georgia State 71
George Mason 69 FINAL
Winthrop 57
Portland State 33 FINAL
Princeton 104
UCLA 71 FINAL
Samford 52
Mobile 30 FINAL
Alabama State 66
Nicholls 49 FINAL
Texas Tech 76
Toledo 65 FINAL
Nevada 56
UMass Lowell 48 FINAL
(13) Duke 95
St Marys-CA 49 FINAL
Virginia 62
McNeese State 55 FINAL
Rice 57
McMurry 49 FINAL
Houston Baptist 69
NJIT 62 FINAL
Seton Hall 74
(6) North Carolina 65 FINAL
Maine 36
Lafayette 58 FINAL
Stony Brook 60
Siena 62 FINAL
Binghamton 53
Longwood 56 FINAL
Clemson 72
Savannah State 51 FINAL
Florida State 97
(19) Syracuse 72 FINAL
(9) Baylor 74
Buffalo 68 FINAL
Manhattan 58
Canisius 43 FINAL
Michigan 79
Davidson 66 FINAL
NC State 82
Northern Ky 63 FINAL
Delaware 58
Saint Louis 81 FINAL
Austin Peay 86
(25) DePaul 64 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 98
Ohio U 74 FINAL
La Salle 63
Florida Atlantic 60 FINAL
Long Beach St 85
Miami-Florida 65 FINAL
Tulane 70
Miss Valley St 39 FINAL
Memphis 62
Ark-Pine Bluff 56 FINAL
UAB 65
Bowling Green 58 FINAL
Illinois State 54
Arkansas State 78 FINAL
Missouri State 62
ULM 42 FINAL
Wichita State 57
(16) Oregon State 71 FINAL
Southern Ill 55
Pacific 67 FINAL
New Mexico St 62
No Dakota State 79 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 86
Utah State 92 FINAL
Sacramento St 102
Bethesda (CA) 61 FINAL
Fresno State 83
Utah Valley U 44 FINAL
Montana 68
LSU 78 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 45

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Will Christian Ponder ever be a full-time starter in the NFL?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close