Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) won the stage in a two-up sprint with Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondaile) but the stage was marked by a volley of attacks led by Alberto Contador and his Tinkoff teammates, after the Spaniard lost his race lead on the previous day.
Contador sent teammates up the road in the early break and then attacked on the Col de la Madeleine with over 70 kilometres remaining. He was joined by several climbers but Froome’s Sky train reeled the move in by the time they reached the summit.
On the final climb Wout Peols, Mikel Landa and Sergio Henao protected Froome and limited Bardet’s advantage after the French rider moved into the virtual race lead.
Froome followed a move from Dan Martin in the final kilometer, with Contador and Richie Porte (BMC Racing) unable to follow. At the line Froome put a handful of seconds into both riders, and with one stage remaining he holds a 21 second over both Porte and Bardet.
In his post-stage press conference Froome was asked if he was surprised about Contador’s tactics.
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