Chris Froome writes a page on the History of Cycling
Launching an incredible long-range attack with 80 kilometres remaining, the Team Sky rider crested three climbs solo on the race’s queen stage and pulled on the maglia rosa with an advantage of 40 seconds.
A perfectly executed race strategy saw Froome overturn a two minute and 54-second deficit, with his team-mates setting a searing pace on the Colle delle Finestre, laying the foundations for a memorable attack.
Froome’s solo mission saw the gap extend out gradually, with overnight leader Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) distanced and chief rival Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) gradually slipping back over the Sestriere and Bardonecchia ascents.
Chased by a group of Dumoulin, Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), Richard Carapaz (Movistar), Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) and Sebastien Reichenbach (Groupama-FDJ), Froome claimed pink on the road ahead of the final first-category peak, as his advantage spun out over three minutes.
After the stage Froome tried to put an incredible day into words: "I don’t think I’ve ever attacked with 80 kilometres to go before like that, on my own, and gone all the way to the finish. The team did such a fantastic job to set that up for me. It was going to take something really special today to first of all get rid of Simon [Yates], then Dumoulin and Pozzovivo. To go from fourth to first, I wasn’t going to do that on the final climb alone, so I had to try something from far out.
"Colle delle Finestre was the perfect place to do it. Gravel roads remind me a little bit of riding on the roads back in Africa. I felt good and thought it was now or never - I have to try.
"There’s a really hard day tomorrow but the legs are feeling good and I’ve been feeling better and better as this race has gone on. Even today out front, I gave it everything, but I also tried to stay within my limits and tried to stay within myself. Hopefully we can finish this off tomorrow."