Froome earns Brailsford backing

Team Sky boss Sir Dave Brailsford has praised Tour de France leader Chris Froome (1/7 Tour De France outright) for his performance in Sunday’s ninth stage but conceded he may have to change tactics to offer him more support.

Froome finished 14th in the gruelling Pyrenees stage to retain the overall lead and with it the yellow jersey, with Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde one minute 25 seconds behind in second.

However, the 28-year-old had to withstand a series of attacks from his rivals after all of his team dropped off the pace.

Vasili Kiryienka, who had helped Froome win Saturday’s eighth stage, was forced out of the race after finishing out of the time limit.

Peter Kennaugh was also forced out following a heavy crash early on while Richie Porte fell well off the pace to finish 17 minutes 59 seconds behind eventual stage winner Dan Martin.

After a rest day on Monday, the Tour now moves to the north of France and the 197km 10th stage between Saint-Gildas-des-Bois and Saint-Malo, a stage likely to favour the sprinters (Mark Cavendish 5/6 Stage 10 betting).

Speaking ahead of that stage Brailsford praised Froome for passing what he thinks was a key test of his abilities but admits he will need more support from his team-mates if he is to win the overall title.

“You could argue, using a boxing analogy, Chris has taken the biggest right hook on the chin he’s going to take and he didn’t flinch,” he said.

“There are some valuable lessons to be learned that we will take into the rest of the race.

“You learn more from adversity than success and we have learned a lot.”

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