Newspaper article International New York Times

5 Story Lines from First Week

Newspaper article International New York Times

5 Story Lines from First Week

Article excerpt

Monday was the first rest day of the Tour de France, providing an opportunity to assess the fortunes of various riders and teams.

Monday was the first rest day of the Tour de France, allowing an opportunity to assess the fortunes of various riders and teams. There are almost two weeks of racing remaining, so the story lines are certain to change, but here is a glance at some of the lessons learned during opening stages:

Chris Froome is not invincible. While Froome, a British member of Team Sky, remains the race favorite, the first mountain stages have undermined the once generally held view that no one can match Froome on the climbs. Froome was unable to shed Nairo Quintana of Colombia, the American rider Tejay van Garderen of the American BMC team, the Australian Richie Porte, also of BMC, and others by attacking uphill on two mountain stages. It remains to be seen, however, if anyone in that group can drop Froome.

Adam Yates may prove to be the big surprise of the Tour. Yates was in the news this week as the rider who had the misfortune of being under the red inflatable structure that marks the final kilometer each day when it sagged and collapsed. Yates, who is British and rides for Australia's Orica-Bike-Exchange team, is only 23 and, while talented, was not expected to contend for the overall lead of the Tour. But he finished the first week second over all, 16 seconds behind Froome. At a team news conference on Monday, Yates played down the idea of challenging Froome all the way to the finish in Paris. But many think it's a possibility.

The behavior of spectators isn't improving. On Saturday, Froome feared he would collide with a spectator in a yellow fright wig running toward him and punched the man. Froome was fined 200 Swiss francs. But it just was one of many near misses this year. …

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