Froome rivals should work on time trial skills - LeMond

Greg LeMond and Chris Froome (Getty Images)
Greg LeMond and Chris Froome (Getty Images)

Marseille - Chris Froome's rivals would be well advised to work on their time trialling abilities if they want to win the Tour de France while the Briton is still dominating, according to three-time champion Greg LeMond.

The Team Sky rider all but wrapped up a fourth title on Saturday after beating Rigoberto Uran and Romain Bardet comprehensively in the final solo effort against the clock, having already started with an advantage after the opening time trial in Dusseldorf.

"If you look at the riders behind Chris Froome, none of them is a time trialist. He does not have a lot of competition when it comes to time trials," LeMond, on the Tour as an analyst for Eurosport, said in his daily review with Reuters.

"If you look at the top 10, most of them are never going to become time trialists unless they work on it, so most of them will never win the Tour."

Uran, second overall, lost 25 seconds to Froome over 22.5km on Saturday and Bardet lost a massive one minute 57 seconds.

"That's the problem. We have a race for second place," said LeMond, a Tour winner in 1986, 1989 and 1990.

"You need a guy like Tom Dumoulin," he said of the Dutchman, an excellent time trialist who won the Giro d'Italia this year but skipped the Tour.

"Dumoulin is the guy who needs to challenge Froome. I don't see anybody right who is going to be that challenger."

On a course that was designed for climbers, the specialists could not create sufficient gaps and the race was always set to be decided on the final time trial unless Froome's rivals took every single opportunity, which they did not.

"Uran, Bardet and Fabio Aru are going to realise that you can't just wait for the climbs. They had several chances to take time off Froome and they did not take them," American LeMond said. "They should learn from that."

In the first big mountain stage, his rivals waited on Froome when he suffered a mechanical at a key moment, and they did not press hard enough after they had dropped him after another mechanical on stage 15.

"It was a good Tour, though. Sky had a very strong team. It's difficult to make a dent but it was a good race, (Warren) Barguil animated the race, (Bardet's) AG2R-La Mondiale did, too," said LeMond.

"Bardet should work on his time trial," he added, being more specific when he said that the Frenchman had a bad position on his bike.

"Sometimes people try to be too aerodynamic. You can't apply force if you're not comfortable. Time trialing is a combination of aerodynamics and pedalling," he explained.

"You can see that he is not comfortable on his bike."

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