• Chris Froome celebrates another day in yellow (Getty) (Getty Images Europe)Source: Getty Images Europe
Chris Froome was happy and relieved to pull on the maillot jaune at the end of a chaotic first week of the Tour de France.
By
Cycling Central

11 Jul 2015 - 6:50 AM 

The Sky rider began Stage 7 as the virtual leader on the road but chose to complete the 190.5km test before he could return to the podium and pull on the famous yellow jersey.

He did so with the help of his team-mates, who kept their leader protected throughout the day and arrived at the front en masse in the closing stages as the race headed into Fougeres for a sprint.

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With one week of racing complete Froome holds an advantage of 11 seconds over Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo), who was just edged out in the day's bunch kick by winner Mark Cavendish and Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) who finished in second.

"It's a huge privilege to be back in the yellow jersey again," said Froome after safely finishing the stage in the bunch.

The day began with no yellow jersey in the bunch after overall leader Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) had been forced to leave the race following a broken collarbone, sustained in a late crash on Stage 6.

"Unfortunately these aren't the circumstances under which I wanted to get the yellow jersey, given that Tony Martin crashed out of the race the way he did yesterday. But I am happy to be back in yellow and there's a lot of bike racing still to go from here,” said the Kenyan-born Brit.

Despite the stage's straightforward nature on paper, there was again a reminder about no one being safe after Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) suffered a small fall during the neutralised zone.

Etixx-QuickStep and Lotto Soudal set about riding on the front as the stage proper began, controlling a five-man break. Sky began to move up with 30km to go with Luke Rowe, Pete Kennaugh and Nicolas Roche initially leading the line, keeping their protected from further crashes and responding to the challenges of the day.

“We're just looking to get through these next few days into the team time trial as best we can and then we'll re-evaluate from there.

"It's basically a day-by-day process, evaluating how everyone's feeling and the stage that is coming up. What other motivations are out there and what other teams are going to be riding, for a sprint finish for example.

“Today was actually a much needed, much more relaxed stage for everyone in the peloton. It seemed to be a lot more calm. We didn't have cross-winds today and the weather was good. It was just a good day on the bike and I think everyone's happy to get through safely." - Chris Froome

Stage 8 ends in a tough climb of the Mur de Bretagne, last seen at the Tour back in 2011.

"Tomorrow it's all up and down, left and right,” said Froome's Sky team-mate, Geraint Thomas. “They are hard roads, like in the UK. I think as long as we keep riding as we have been doing towards the front it should be okay. And having the jersey gives you that little extra motivation and respect to stay at the front."

Froome is optimistic, but cautious. "With the Mur de Bretagne, I wouldn't say it's going to be as hard as the Mur de Huy earlier this week,” he said. “Certainly it's a stage that is going to test people. There could be a few more time gaps at the finish there. We'll see how it turns out.

"Of course there's a lot of added pressure that comes with being the yellow jersey but that's all part of it. You need to find an extra hour of the day for all the ceremony processes that come with it but I wouldn't swap that for the world. This jersey means everything to me."

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