Tour de France commentary, stage 16: Is Chris Froome clean?

Six stages of the 100th Tour de France remain and if Chris Froome’s four-plus minute lead seems safe, well fine.

But with the exception of the night-time finish of stage 21 in Paris — the celebration of the three weeks — the five remaining competitive stages include three stages in the Alps and those include a handful of HC climbs.

Froome appears to be in charge, yes. And yet, Tour de France leaders are not immune to crashing and nor are they immune to a bad day or illness.

Chris Froome (Sky) is leading the 100th Tour de France

Chris Froome is in command of the 100th Tour de France

With the double ascent of L’Alpe d’Huez on the horizon in stage 18, here are five random thoughts about the 100th Tour de France:

5. Will the peloton honor Stuart O’Grady and let the enduring Australian lead the group onto the Champs Elysees at the end of his 17th Tour de France participation?

4. Levi Leipheimer finished on the Tour de France GC podium four times (all now negated). He couldn’t find a ride this season after his six-month suspension, so as he has done often in his career, he found a niche, unheralded, mountain bike race, the Crusher in the Tushar, last weekend. And while Chris Froome was stamping his name at the top of the Tour de France GC, Leipheimer was pedaling his bike in Beaver, Utah.

3. Rumor has it Chris Froome or Bradley Wiggins will compete in the USA Pro Challenge, beginning Aug 19 in Aspen, Colo.

2. Just all of sudden thinking Cadel Evans will retire at the end of the season.

1. Is Chris Froome riding clean? Who knows? But Andy Hood of VeloNews.com has the best analysis of why there’s skepticism. Read it here: Too Good To Be True?

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