Chris Froome’s winning ride on the Mont Ventoux today in the Tour de France may have looked easy, but Sky’s captain and the race leader was suffering and in need of oxygen at the summit.

After crossing the line at 1912 metres, medics strapped an oxygen mask to his face to make sure he would not faint.

“I can’t ever remember taking oxygen before, after a stage like that,” Froome said in a press conference.

“I hope it’s relatively normal given it was a full-gas effort up until the finish. I was feeling quite faint and short of breath at the top.”

He took about five to 10 minutes worth of oxygen before the podium presentation and meeting the press. Froome added, “It helped me feel much better.”

In order to gauge his opponents, Froome said, he feels his own suffering in the climbs.

“So much of it is on feeling. I like to think that in those moments I can feel when it’s hard. I can feel I’m hurting, and I hope the others are hurting at that point,” he continued.

“A lot of it is mental warfare, who can dig deeper and suffer more.”

Froome, after following in his team-mates’ wheels, launched several violent attacks on the 20.8-kilometre climb where Tom Simpson died in 1967.

His first at 7.2 kilometres remaining was to drop Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff). His second, third and fourth attacks, were to weaken the last remaining rider, Nairo Quintana (Movistar). At 1.3 kilometres out, close to Simpson’s memorial, he left Quintana and rode solo to his stage win.

“[The attack near Simpson’s memorial] wasn’t actually planned,” Froome explained. “I tried to distance Quintana a few times before, each time he followed me quite easily and I thought he was going to win the stage at that point and I’d just focus on getting time in the GC. At about two kilometres, he started faltering and I decided to try again.”

Froome never raced Ventoux before, but he trained on it in May and saw Simpson’s memorial.

“It was circumstantial that it was close to Simpson’s memorial,” added, “but it was definitely worth paying tribute to him.”

  • Bobbinogs

    My god there are some miserable beggars out there! Cheer up folks, we have all just witnessed a magnificant finale to a stage and yet many folks just want to play the “too good to be true so therefore he must have cheated” card. Yes, we have all ended up disappointed before but that doesn’t mean that some racers can’t ride clean and win (Bradley W, Mark C, Chris H, Victoria P, etc., etc.).

    I, for one, loved it and it made me want to get out on my bike and ride :-)

  • Phil Edwards

    A fantastic effort from Chris Froome yesterday. I certainly understand everyone’s suspicions but what a shame that this win, if we’re not careful, will so easily be devalued and tarnished if the pick, pick, picking continues. Let the man enjoy his moment, give him the benefit of the doubt and believe that clean racing is possible or we may as well all give up watching.

  • Ken Evans

    Contador was beaten by Kreuziger ! Shows he was riding below previous level. Rodríguez also didn’t show well, Valverde isn’t so competitive either. Some strange performances compared to what they were capable of less than one year ago. Also Gilbert doesn’t look like the same rider that so dominated the Classics…….

  • Henry

    Steve, Rodrigo, Robert, why don’t you guys swing on over to CyclingNews, you’d fit in well over there.

  • Robert

    Organised Confusion wrote: “this could well prove to be one of the greatest TDF wins of recent decades and a fine and fitting tribute to the centenary year and the spirit of Simpson.” Good one! Tom Simpson, the man whose death was closely linked to his abuse of amphetamines, so allowing him to over-ride every signal his body gave telling him to stop. The “Spirit of Simpson” indeed!

  • Terry

    Never mind Froomey needing oxygen, I needed some myself after that fantastic display.
    As far as dope is concerned I think I read the ascent time of Ventoux as being slower than Dirty Armstrong. What I find very interesting is the riders (mainly the Spanish quartet) who are back from doping suspensions being unable to perform their usual miracles !!
    If Froomedog is ‘at it’ and found out the world of professional cycle racing will be dead in the water forever.

  • Organised Confusion

    We may well be witnessing something very, very special. Without wishing to draw any analogy to the great Cannibal, when was the last time you saw the lead contender wear two jerseys?.

    If he can keep up this form, and the team can avoid any further losses / drop outs, this could well prove to be one of the greatest TDF wins of recent decades and a fine and fitting tribute to the centenary year and the spirit of Simpson. Outstanding.

  • Robert

    It is ironic that earlier this year David Brailsford said that exactly the sort of attacking performances that Froome has been producing were the mark of doping. To quote him from CyclingNews on 19 March 2013 “If people want the entertainment value of riders attacking each other, stopping, attacking each other again and again, then go back to ‘old cycling’, which will give you the capability to do that. If you want clean sport and clean cycling, then it’s going to be different. You can’t have it both ways. There’s an element of reality about what were doing.”

    Froome is also climbing as fast and putting out as much power as the likes of Armstrong and Pantani did back in the ‘old days’ of rampant Epo use, blood doping, 58% haemocrit levels, testosterone and HGH abuse and all the rest. Not even Armstrong ever produced the sort of high-revving motor bike like acceleration that Froome came out with on the Ventoux.

    Where is this so called ‘element of reality’ and how does it look any different to the ‘old cycling’? If anything, things look even more unbelievable now than they ever did in the past!

  • Eduardo Leoncio Morales Morales

    Admirable la fortaleza física y el empuje de Chris Froome que a pesar de su pedaleo desarticulado y a empujones muy diferente al de su rival Naíro Quintana de pedaleo redondo y elástico pudo ganar la etapa mas larga del tour por su decisión y valentía ¡¡¡ bravo eso es el ciclismo ¡¡¡¡¡

  • Rodrigo Restrepo

    What he did at the Giro in 2010 is not a good antecedent. I don’t think he is a gentleman. The attack on Contador is at least suspicious. I agree with Steve Clarke. Too good to be true. A mask of oxygen doesn’t cover totally his act. Good try anyway.

  • Richard Smith

    Thanks for the report on the press conference. Any idea how Froome’s time compares with other greats who have climbed and triumphed on Monto Ventoux is previous TDF?

  • Nigel Robert Collins

    Chris Froome is a real gentleman.
    He respects theTours history and his competitors.
    There is noway that he is fueling his efforts illegally.
    I just wish that the press would back off and accept that
    cyclists can win clean just by training and having a team behind
    them like SKY . Read Steve Peters book ” The Chimp Paradox” and realise
    that we are all able to acheive way beyond our norm,

  • steve clarke

    Really exciting stage, but not sure if I can believe what I saw.
    The attack by Chris Froome to distance Alberto did not look “real” to me, the cadence and ease of his riding/attack reminded me of Lance Armstrong on Ventoux when he caught Pantani, and we know where that ended…..

    I WANT to believe in Team Sky and Froome, but this performance just looked too good to be true.

    I hope I’m wrong, but pro cycling has given me too many knocks over the years and I now find myself questioning when I see a “brilliant” performance.