As the Tour de France enters its second and final rest day Monday, five things to know:
1. ONE DAY, TWO JERSEYS: Chris Froome of Britain finished Sunday with the stage victory, the yellow jersey still on his back and an even bigger lead over his main rival, Alberto Contador. He also got a bonus: The red-and-white polka-dot jersey awarded to the top climber. Froome picked up enough points on the 13-mile ascent of Mont Ventoux to take it from Pierre Rolland of France, who started Stage 15 with it. Froome leads the climbing classification with 83 points, 17 more than Nairo Quintana of Colombia and 30 more than Mikel Nieve of Spain. Rolland dropped to fourth. Because Froome has the yellow jersey and Quintana holds the white jersey for the best young rider, Nieve will wear the polka-dot jersey on Tuesday's 16th stage.
2. LIMITLESS SKY? Dave Brailsford, the mastermind of the British team who's gunning for a second straight Tour victory after Bradley Wiggins' triumph last year, summed up why Froome is head and shoulders above his rivals at this Tour: Along with "amazing" physical abilities, Brailsford said Froome uses his energy more efficiently than anyone else. "This efficiency issue is something … I haven't seen anybody picking up on it."
3. FANS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN: Men in mankinis, another running with a plastic wild boar under his arm, inflatable outfits and animal costumes, and countless thousands of fans screaming at the top of their voices. Yes, it's another crazy mountain climb at the Tour. Ascents in the Alps, Pyrenees and Sunday Mont Ventoux in Provence always draw giant crowds. It's partly because the riders go slower uphill, so there's more for the spectators to see than on a flat stage, when the peloton zips past in a few blinks of the eye. Also, the climbs are where the race can be won and lost, so the drama is more intense.
4. LeMOND CHIMES IN: Greg LeMond believes Froome has the Tour victory locked up. LeMond, the only American winner of the Tour after Floyd Landis and Lance Armstrong were stripped of their titles, was on hand at the finish Sunday. LeMond, who won in 1986, 1989 and 1990, said Froome is "too strong" and "would have to have a really bad day" to not be in the yellow jersey when the race ends July 21 in Paris. LeMond also said he's encouraged that young riders are winning stages and races — a "positive sign" that cycling is "going in the right direction … There is real talent."
5. RICHIE THE ROCKET: Although his buddy and team leader Froome got the victory, Richie Porte actually landed many of the knockout punches on the way up Ventoux. With five miles of ascending still to go, the Australian took position at the front of the yellow jersey's group, and stepped on the gas. His accelerations spat out rivals from the back, unable to keep up.
Stage 15 results
1. Chris Froome, England, Sky Procycling, 5 hours 48 minutes 45 seconds.
2. Nairo Quintana, Colombia, Movistar, 29 seconds behind.
3. Mikel Nieve, Spain, Euskaltel-Euskadi, 1:23.
4. Joaquin Rodriguez, Spain, Katusha, same time.
5. Roman Kreuziger, Czech Republic, Team Saxo-Tinkoff, 1:40.
1. Chris Froome, England, Sky Procycling, 61 hours 11 minutes 43 seconds.
2. Bauke Mollema, Netherlands, Belkin Pro Cycling, 4:14.
3. Alberto Contador, Spain, Team Saxo-Tinkoff, 4:25.
4. Roman Kreuziger, Czech Republic, Team Saxo-Tinkoff, 4:28.
5. Laurens ten Dam, Netherlands, Belkin Pro Cycling, 4:54.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times