Winning back-to-back stages, pocketing a 10-second bonus on each occasion, means his advantage has steadily grown and, barring mishap, he should still be in yellow entering the Pyrenees on Tuesday for a demanding stage to Bagneres De Luchon
STAGE 8 (July 9): Don't try this home: Froome's daredevil into Bagneres de Luchon
, on the crossbar like a on the narrow beam gave him the Yellow Jersey the first time this year.
Bagneres De Luchon
: Frenchman Romain Bardet and American Tejay van Garderen's Tour de France podium hopes suffered a major blow yesterday when they lost considerable ground in the 16th stage won by Australian Michael Rogers.
Apres Chavanel, Sandy Casar (Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne), Christophe Riblon (Ax-3 Domaines), Thomas Voeckler (Bagneres de Luchon
) et Pierrick Fedrigo (Pau) ont enleve chacun une etape de montagne.
The 39-second gap between the pair was identical to the one obtained amid controversy by the Astana team leader in Monday's 15th stage to Bagneres de Luchon
when his Luxembourg rival was hampered by a mechanical fault.
Schleck, who appeared to remain amazingly cool, managed to reduce the deficit to half a minute by the summit, but was unable to gain any time on the rapid decent to the finish in Bagneres de Luchon
and finished the stage 39 seconds behind Contador, who was aided in his descent by podium chasers Denis Menchov and Samuel Sanchez, giving the Astana rider the yellow jersey by eight seconds.
Thomas Voeckler (Bbox Bouygues Telecom), resplendent in the French national champion's jersey, won the 187.5k stage from Pamiers to Bagneres de Luchon
, but there was yet another twist.
The group also went for a field excursion to the French Pyrenees and stayed in Bagneres de Luchon
and in Cap de Creus in Catalonia.
Today is the second of four in the Pyrenees, but it is without question the least tough with just three significant climbs on the 187.5km stage from Pamiers to Bagneres de Luchon
, and it is likely that Contador and Schleck will be locked together at the finish.
The 15th stage takes the peloton from Pamiers to Bagneres de Luchon
on Monday and looks the most lenient of the four Pyrenees stages on this Tour.