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Dublin: 18 °C Friday 22 June, 2018

Nicolas Roche left distraught as 'dream of Tour de France stage win' slips through his grasp

Team Sky were beaten by one second.

Team Sky were unable to overhaul BMC on Sunday.
Team Sky were unable to overhaul BMC on Sunday.
Image: Peter Dejong

BMC BEAT TEAM Sky by one second to win the 28km team time trial ninth stage of the Tour de France on Sunday but Chris Froome kept the race leader’s yellow jersey.

Froome’s Sky had a five second advantage at the foot of the final 1.7km climb to the finish in Plumelec but Ireland’s Nicolas Roche cracked under the pace set by Welshman Geraint Thomas and his team-mates had to slow down to wait for him.

That gave the BMC team of Tejay Van Garderen, now second overall, the chance to snatch the victory.

Nairo Quintana’s Movistar were third, Alberto Contador’s Tinkoff-Saxo fourth with reigning champion Vincenzo Nibali’s Astana fifth.

The battle between BMC and Sky was neck-and-neck for 20km with the two level at the first time check and then Sky ahead by 1sec at the second.

But at the foot of the final climb they seemed to have taken a decisive advantage, only for Roche to crack.

As the team’s time is counted when the fifth rider crosses the line and Sky were down to their final five, Froome dropped back to ride beside his struggling teammate to encourage him to the finish.

“I was pretty generous again in the second half of the course,” said a distraught Roche.

“It’s true that G (Thomas) was really strong and that took me out of my comfort zone. I don’t have any words to explain my disappointment.”

Despite missing out on the stage win, it was another successful day for Froome, with only Van Garderen able to gain time on him, and that only a second.

Contador dropped 27 seconds to the leader and is now fifth overall.

But the big loser was Nibali who lost time for the second day in a row and is now 2 minutes 24 seconds off the pace.

- © AFP, 2015

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