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Froome comfortably in front at Tour de France

July 15, 2013 at 8:43 AM   |   Comments

VAISON-LA-ROMAINE, France, July 15 (UPI) -- From a time trial to one of the toughest mountain climbs in cycling, Chris Froome has taken control of the 100th Tour de France.

The riders have their second rest day of this year's Tour on Monday. It comes a day after the 2013 Tour's longest stage, a 150.7-mile trek that ended with an "hors categorie" -- a climb deemed tougher than a Category 1, which is the highest climb designation -- up the 6,300-foot Mont Ventoux.

Froome, who took the overall lead July 6 after winning another mountain stage, won Sunday's stage in a time of nearly 6 hours. Only one other rider was within 1 minute of his winning time.

Froome also finished second last Wednesday in the individual time trial, ending up 12 seconds behind Tony Martin. No other rider was within a minute of Martin.

That array of skills has Froome leading the Tour by 4 minutes, 14 seconds over Bauke Mollema going into the final week of the Tour.

Alberto Contador, who won the Tour de France in 2010 but the title was rescinded due to doping allegations, is third 4:25 off Froome's pace. (Contador also won the Tour in 2007 and '09.)

Roman Kreuziger is fourth, 3 seconds behind Contador and Laurens Ten Dam is fifth, 4:54 back of Froome.

The rest day occurs in southeastern France with four mountain stages and another individual time trial this week ahead of Saturday's closing ride into Paris. There are six stages, totaling 518.7 miles, to go.

Tuesday's route is rated a medium mountain stage as the riders go 104.4 miles from Vaison-la-Romaine to Gap, deeper into the Alps. There are two Category 2 and one Category 3 climbs.

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