Following a tough day of climbing on stage 20 of the Tour de France, Chris Froome said he felt like he was “dying a thousand deaths” on the final climb to Alpe d’Huez as he all but secured a second Tour de France victory on Saturday.
The 30-year-old Briton revealed he had been struggling with illness for a few days after holding off a stirring fightback by Nairo Quintana. “I won’t be lying if I say that there were a few moments when I thought: ‘this will be tough here’,” said the Team Sky leader. “But we were getting time checks every few minutes and it was comforting to see the gap wasn’t suddenly jumping up by 30 seconds; it was moving up by five or 10 seconds at a time so it was manageable.
“I was on my limits, it felt like I was dying a thousand deaths today but being with my teammates makes it a little bit more manageable and I had a little left to do that last kilometer and limit those losses.” On his illness, he added: “Since the second rest day I’ve been a bit chesty, tight-chested with a bit of a cough.”
Tour de France overall standings
1. Chris Froome (GBR/SKY) 81hr 56min 33sec
2. Nairo Quintana (COL/MOV) at 1:12.
3. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/MOV) 5:25.
4. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/AST) 8:36.
5. Alberto Contador (ESP/TIN) 9:48.
6. Robert Gesink (NED/LNL) 10:47.
7. Bauke Mollema (NED/TRE) 15:14.
8. Mathias Frank (SUI/IAM) 15:39.
9. Romain Bardet (FRA/ALM) 16:00.
10. Pierre Rolland (FRA/EUC) 17:30.
11. Andrew Talansky (USA/CAN) 22:06.
12. Samuel Sanchez (ESP/BMC) 22:50.
13. Serge Pauwels (BEL/MTN) 31:03.
14. Warren Barguil (FRA/GIA) 31:15.
15. Geraint Thomas (GBR/SKY) 31:39.
16. Thibaut Pinot (FRA/FDJ) 38:52.
17. Roman Kreuziger (CZE/TIN) 1:02:51.
18. Mickaël Cherel (FRA/ALM) 1:05:00.
19. Jarlinson Pantano (COL/IAM) 1:09:08.
20. Jan Bakelants (BEL/ALM) 1:16:36.