Tour de France: Chris Froome happy to accept time penalty for illegal Alpe d'Huez feed
By Matt Westby in Alpe d'Huez. Last Updated: 19/07/13 6:58am
Chris Froome: Extended his overall lead despite the penalty
Chris Froome revealed he was happy to accept his 20-second time penalty for an illegal feed on a memorable 18th stage of the Tour de France on Alpe d'Huez.
The Team Sky rider was reprimanded for taking a power gel inside the final 10km after running low on energy 5km out.
Despite the setback, he still extended his overall lead of the race to 5min 11sec after main rival Alberto Contador was dropped on the second of two ascents of Alpe d'Huez and finished 57 seconds down.
"At the end of the day, the rules are rules and if I have been given a 20-second penalty then I will have to take that," Froome said.
"I was really going into a bit of a sugar low and that really helped me with 5km to go. It is a horrible feeling and I am just happy to get through the stage and to come out of it with more of an advantage than I went into the stage with.
"If that was a bad day for me then I will definitely accept that."
Froome had to ask team-mate Richie Porte to drop back to collect the gel and later explained that he had missed an earlier opportunity to eat.
"We had a bit of a mechanical problem with the car earlier on, so it wasn't with us towards the bottom of that last climb," he added. "That was the problem for us today."
"That move could have possibly cost them a lot of energy that they seemed to not have on Alpe d'Huez."
Froome came under pressure throughout an epic, 172.5km stage, most notably from Contador and his Saxo-Tinkoff team-mates.
Rivals' attack futile
The Spaniard and team-mate Roman Kreuziger launched a huge attack on the descent of the Col de Sarenne, which was sandwiched in between the two Alpe d'Huez climbs, but they failed to open up a significant advantage and was soon reeled back in.
Consequently short of energy, Contador was dropped early on the final ascent and now needs miracle to overhaul Froome's lead in the last two mountain stages.
"It was interesting to see Kreuziger and Contador going off the front on the descent of Col de Sarenne," Froome said.
"It was still a long way from the base of Alpe d'Huez the second time. That move could have possibly cost them a lot of energy that they seemed to not have on Alpe d'Huez."