Chris Froome won Stage 15 of the 2013 Tour de France on Sunday, atoning for back-to-back disappointing days in which he say his lead slip by over a minute. The British rider pulled away from the competition while conquering Mont Ventoux, one of the most brutal uphill stretches of the Tour. Froome now leads Denmark’s Bauke Mollema by 4:14 seconds in the overall standings. Spain’s Alberto Contador, who won the Tour in 2007 and 2009, finished in sixth on Sunday and is now 4:25 behind Froome.
Contador spoke with reporters after the race about Froome’s impressive performance (via Reuters):
He is very superior to everyone in the mountains. He showed it in the Pyrenees and once again here. I did what I could, climbing at my rhythm but he was too strong. I came here to win but Froome is very strong and every time he takes time from me.
When asked to assess his own performance, Froome was ecstatic:
I did not imagine this. This climb is so historic, it means so much to this race. I did not see myself winning. I thought I had to surrender the stage to Quintana.
Nairo Quintana of Colombia finished 29 seconds behind Froome.