Froome feels in top shape after stunning effort to clinch Giro d’Italia lead

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Chris Froome is confident his Herculean effort to win stage 19 and wrest the overall lead in the Giro d’Italia will not come back to haunt him as he targets holding three grand tour titles at the same time.

Froome launched a remarkable solo attack 80km from the end of the mountainous stage from Venaria Reale to Bardonecchia, overturning a deficit of three minutes and 22 seconds at the start of the day to lead by 40 seconds.

But Froome’s fellow Briton Simon Yates, who started the day in the pink jersey, suffered a dreadful day as he finished over 38 minutes off the pace, leaving him 35 minutes down on Froome in the general classification.

Chris Froome
Chris Froome claimed one of his career-best stage wins (Daniel Dal Zennaro/AP)

“Even today out front, I gave it everything, but I also tried to stay with my limits and tried to stay within myself. Hopefully we can finish this off tomorrow.”

If Froome’s win was one of the most emphatic of his career there were reminders of the ongoing controversy generated by his adverse analytical finding for Salbutamol at the 2017 Vuelta a Espana.

At one point as he struck out alone, Froome, who has spoken openly about his need to control his asthma, was pursued by two spectators dressed as doctors and carrying a giant inhaler.

Froome paid tribute to his Team Sky team-mates after his win, adding: “The team did such a fantastic job to set that up for me.

“It was going to take something really special to try and first of all get rid of Simon, to get away from Dumoulin and (Domenico) Pozzovivo and to go from fourth to first.

Simon Yates
Former leader Simon Yates saw his hopes of retaining the pink jersey go up in smoke (Daniel Dal Zennaro/AP)

But it was a stage Yates will wish to forget, the Michelton-Scott rider starting to struggle as soon as the riders hit the daunting Colle delle Finestre, where Froome began the move which might just be enough to claim another major, if inevitably controversial, title.

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