Froome: 'You don't do that to the race leader, it's not sportsmanlike'

The Tour de France leader wasn’t too happy with today’s stage winner Vincenzo Nibali.

Tour de France leader Chris Froome.
Tour de France leader Chris Froome.

TOUR DE FRANCE leader Chris Froome accused Vincenzo Nibali of acting in an unsportsmanlike manner in his stage 19 win, but was relieved to limit his losses to main rival Nairo Quintana.

Defending champion Nibali (Astana) made a break for the lead after spotting that Froome had encountered a problem, with the Team Sky man getting a stone stuck in his rear brake.

Nibali moved up to fourth in the general classification with his first stage win of the year on the gruelling ride from Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to La Toussuire-les-Sybelles, and Froome was unimpressed with the Italian’s move.

“It was up the Col du Glandon, pretty close to the summit, I suddenly felt like my back wheel locked up,” Froome told reporters. ”A bit of tar or a small stone had locked itself between my brake calliper and back wheel so I had to stop and take the wheel backwards to get the stone out.

“Unfortunately that was the moment that Nibali decided to make his move. He did see what he was doing, I’m pretty sure he looked around, saw I was in trouble and attacked. In my opinion you don’t do that to the race leader, it’s not sportsmanlike.”

Froome — who also had a row with Alejandro Valverde on the stage — soon caught back up with his main rivals, but Quintana (Movistar) took 32 seconds off the lead with a well-timed attack with five kilometres remaining.

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However, the Colombian trails by two minutes and 38 seconds with just one proper stage of racing remaining, and Froome was happy not to lose more time.

“All in all it was a pretty good stage for us, to be able to tick it off and be one day closer now, there’s one day of real racing left now,” he said.

“Obviously Quintana put in a real big attack there, I chose to ride my own tempo and try and limit my losses, stay within myself and keep a bit of energy. It’s going to be very full on [on stage 20], I’m actually quite looking forward to it. It’s going to be epic out there.”

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