CHORGES, France —
But there are questions about how comfortable Froome is speeding downhill. He has voiced concern about a hairy descent without safety barriers that the pack tackles between the first and second ascents to L’Alpe d’Huez. He appealed to race organizers to cancel the Col de Sarenne descent and make the pack ride just once to L’Alpe d’Huez if it rains on Thursday.
“Just in terms of the safety of the riders, I think that has to come first,” Froome said.
That eventuality was ruled out by Jean-Francois Pescheux, the event director.
“This is the Tour de France. Rain hasn’t ever stopped the Tour de France. It would have to really be a natural catastrophe that blocked the road or something like that,” he told The Associated Press.
“Rain isn’t the enemy of the cyclist — it’s part of the sport!”
It was certainly part of Wednesday’s time trial, but not as much as initially feared. While it did rain on parts of the course, the forecast storms hit only after Stage 17 finished. That was a relief because the route went up two climbs in the mountains above the man-made Serre-Poncon lake. The twisting descents could have been terribly treacherous if wetter.