As statements of intent go, Chris Froome’s victory on the Queen stage of the 2013 Tirreno-Adriatico will take some beating.
Team Sky’s leader for this Italian job had his rivals on toast today, launching a devastating attack in the final 1,000 metres of a 14.5km climb to the Prati di Tivo ski resort.
Those rivals, it’s worth reminding ourselves, are the world’s best stage racers, five-time Grand Tour champion, Alberto Contador, among them. They were left shell shocked.
If Froome feels a responsibility to match Bradley Wiggins’ run to the Tour de France, he is living up to it.
Where the Londoner won Paris-Nice, the Tour de Romandie, and the Criterium du Dauphine on his way to victory in the 2012 Tour, Froome has begun 2013 with victory at the Tour of Oman and looks set fair to add ‘The Race of the Two Seas’ to his palmares.
Stefano Sirotti was our man with the lens at a memorable day in Italy.
Mark Cavendish began a final day in the maglia azzurra in the unfamiliar role of climbing super domestique
OPQS leader, Tony Martin, had a day to forget, despite Cavendish’s efforts, finishing 6.25 down on Froome
Alberto Contador launched a series of his trademark attacks but was unable to escape the attentions of Team Sky
A move made in the final kilometre by defending champion, Nibali, with Contador and Mauro Santambrogio, looked dangerous
But Froome passed the trio as if they were going backwards and didn’t slow down until he’d crossed the line
Nibali looked shell shocked by Froome’s effort. The Italian lost 10 seconds to Team Sky’s leader in less than 1,000 metres