• Chris Froome (Sky) is as relaxed as can be in the yellow jersey (AAP)Source: AAP
Chris Froome (Sky) has heard BMC Racing’s early war cry at the Tour de France, but enjoyed one of his “most relaxed” days ever at the race on Thursday.
Sophie Smith

Cycling Central
7 Jul 2017 - 8:35 AM 

Froome stayed safe in the sixth stage, which Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step) won, to retain the yellow jersey ahead of the mountain passes to come this weekend.

Stage 6 highlights and report
Kittel kicks to win Tour de France Stage 6
From around 200 metres out, Marcel Kittel (QuickStep Floors) turned on the after burners to smoke past 10 riders to victory. Arnaud Demare (FDJ) finished second, extending his healthy lead in the green jersey competition.

The defending Tour champion was as casual as a Sunday barbeque when asked if flat stages provided an opportunity for respite, or rather were as stressful as any other.

“It depends. Today actually was quite relaxed. I’d say that was one of the most relaxed days of the Tour that I’ve ever done. They don’t come around very often but they’re certainly welcome when they do come around,” Froome said.

“I’ve settled into the race now, we are almost a week in. There is still a long way to go but I’m pretty happy with how it has started so far.”

Froome took over the maillot jaune from Sky teammate Geraint Thomas on the first summit finish of the 104th edition on Wednesday, happy to let Richie Porte’s BMC team do all the work, setting the tempo of the bunch until the final six-kilometre climb to La Planche des Belles Fillies.

The onus hadn’t been on BMC to work, but Tour title contender Porte and road captain Nicolas Roche both backed the tactic. The Australian jumped into the top five on general classification as a result. After the finish line, he seemed to take comfort that Sky would have to carry a larger burden in the tougher mountain stages to come.

“I think it showed initiative, it showed intent. I think they have a lot of confidence in Richie, which is great,” said Froome. “I think they did the right thing, they committed for the stage win. It didn’t quite pay off. Richie came in fourth yesterday, but I think it still showed purpose and chapeau to them for trying.”

The Tour continues with another flat stage tomorrow.

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