Sky had the Tour de France’s 16th stage to Bagnères-de-Luchon under control, according to Chris Froome. He said that he and race leader, Bradley Wiggins were comfortable despite Vincenzo Nibali’s attackers.

“Worried? Not really, to be honest,” Froome said. “Yeah, it was hard at the end of a long day, it hurts, but Brad and I both know they [Nibali’s attacks] weren’t really going anywhere. We were quite within ourselves there at the end.”

Froome spoke to a group of five journalists after cooling down on the bus. He helped Wiggins come one step closer to winning the Tour in Paris on Sunday.

He brought back Nibali after two attacks with around three kilometres to race up the Col de Peyresourde. The third attack, through a tunnel of fans, Wiggins pulled back.

Team Principal David Brailsford was impressed with the effort, which sets up the team for first and second in Paris.

“Look at him [Froome], he’s as fresh as a daisy,” Brailsford said. “Like a Sunday clubber.”

Some experts said that if Nibali of team Liquigas-Cannondale failed to gain time today over Wiggins then he would be unable to win the Tour. He trails Wiggins by 2-23 minutes.

“We were very comfortable there. I don’t think he was really going anywhere,” Froome added. “I mean it’s great that he was able to put in those moves, but I he was only getting 50 metres or so, and then we were bringing him back.”

“We saw at the end, it was just down to three, there’s not many people left in the race,” Wiggins explained. “I’m just glad we passed the test as a team… It was tough going out there.”

The trio moved clear of their rivals. Jurgen Van den Broeck (Lotto-Belisol) and Tejay Van Garderen (BMC Racing) placed in a group 58 seconds back. Defending champion, Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) was nearly five minutes back.

Nibali now sits safe in third overall by just over three minutes on Van den Broeck.

“He’s in a good position,” Froome said. “He’s obviously now securing his third position a lot better by having dropped a lot of the other favourites. So, it was in our interest to work together and just keep it going.”

Froome must help Wiggins defend in one more key mountain stage, tomorrow’s summit finish to Peyragudes.

“Sky was too strong today,” Nibali said. “I’m aiming for the podium. I’d still like to win the stage tomorrow, but it’s getting too hard to open the door.”

Tour de France 2012: Latest news



Wiggins’ Tour de France training



Voigt tries to carry on as RadioShack’s future seems in doubt



Frank Schleck positive for banned substance at Tour



Rest day review (July 17)



Defending Tour champ Evans has work to do in Pyrenees



Sprinters’ teams unwilling to work on stage 15



Evans suffers multiple punctures after Tour tack attack



Froome not winning this year’s Tour is ‘very great sacrifice’



Frank Schleck criticises ‘boring’ Tour de France


Tour de France 2012: Teams, riders, start list



Tour 2012: Who will win?



Tour de France 2012 start list and withdrawals



Tour de France 2012 team list

Tour de France 2012: Stage reports

Stage 16: Voeckler the Pyrenean king as he wins in Bagneres de Luchon

Stage 15: Fedrigo wins, day off for peloton

Stage 14: Sanchez solos to Foix victory to save Rabobank’s Tour

Stage 13: Greipel survives climb and crosswinds to win third Tour stage

Stage 12: Millar wins Tour stage nine years from his last

Stage 11: Wiggins strengthens Tour lead as Evans slips back

Stage 10: Voeckler wins and saves his Tour

Stage nine: Wiggins destroys opposition in Besancon TT

Stage eight: Pinot solos to Tour win as Wiggins fights off attacks

Stage seven: Wiggins takes yellow as Froome wins stage

Stage six: Sagan wins third Tour stage

Stage five: Greipel wins again as Cavendish fades

Stage four: Greipel wins stage after Cavendish crashes

Stage three: Sagan runs away with it in Boulogne

Stage two: Cavendish takes 21st Tour stage victory

Stage one: Sagan wins at first attempt

Prologue: Cancellara wins, Wiggins second

Tour de France 2012: Comment, analysis, blogs



Analysis: What we learned at La Planche des Belles Filles



Analysis: How much time could Wiggins gain in Tour’s time trials



CW’s Tour de France podcasts



Blog: Tour presentation – chasing dreams and autographs



Comment: Cavendish the climber

Tour de France 2012: Photo galleries



Stage 16 by Graham Watson



Stage 15 by Graham Watson



Stage 14 by Graham Watson



Stage 13 by Graham Watson



Stage 12 by Graham Watson



Stage 11 by Graham Watson



Stage 10 by Graham Watson



Stage nine by Graham Watson



Stage eight by Graham Watson



Stage seven by Graham Watson



Stage six by Graham Watson



Stage five by Graham Watson



Stage four by Graham Watson



Stage three by Graham Watson



Stage two by Andy Jones



Stage two by Graham Watson



Stage one by Graham Watson



Prologue photo gallery by Andy Jones



Prologue photo gallery by Roo Rowler



Prologue photo gallery by Graham Watson



Tour de France 2012: Team presentation



Sky and Rabobank Tour de France recce

Tour de France 2012: Live text coverage



Stage 10 live coverage



Stage nine live coverage



Stage six live coverage



Stage five live coverage



Stage four live coverage



Stage three live coverage



Cycling Weekly’s live text coverage schedule

Tour de France 2012: TV schedule

ITV4 live schedule

British Eurosport live schedule

Tour de France 2012: Related links



Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Cavendish



Brief history of the Tour de France



Tour de France 2011: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index



1989: The Greatest Tour de France ever

 

  • carbon crank

    Welcome to the bread and water era of cycling. There will be no more attacks that break a rider and win back minutes. Just faux attacks that have no chance so they can say they tried. It will make the grand tours in to time trial contests with some mountains thrown in for pretty pictures.

    This has been the most boring tour I’ve ever seen. And the stage racing all year, from Tour of California to Tour de Suisse, Paris-Nice, Dauphine. they have all been snoozers, unless you are huge fan of time trialing. The mountains have become glorified training rides with attack that are full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    And the only rider that may have animated the race sanctioned for picograms.

  • SJH

    It’s ok, Paul must have been going on about the ‘Twiglet’ tag or something. Didn’t know you could get them in Italy…

  • Philip Livingstone

    I thought Bradley was majestic – he looked like he was on a Sunday club run, riding well within himself. As the team leader he is the protected rider and should be conserving energy as much as possible.
    Unfortunately Paul’s comments highlight the amount of damage Chris Froome’s comments in the press have done to Bradley’s achievement – on the verge of greatness and people like Paul are undermining it already.

  • Mick W

    Eaten Wiggins ??……absolute rubbish . Wiggo looked serene.

  • Don Danberry

    Seems a bit uncharitable of Froome to say that of Nibali – at least he was giving it a go and making for good racing.

    And the more I hear from and read about Froome, the more I want Wiggins to continue to be team leader for years to come, all being well.

    @Paul – Nibali would have ‘eaten Wiggins’? What, apart from the several occasions when Wiggins himself covered Nibali’s attacks you mean?

  • Paul

    Nibali’s attacks weren’t going anywhere? against Froome perhaps but he would have eaten Wiggins.