Chris Froome retained the yellow jersey at the Tour de France as a breakaway prevailed on stage 14. Froome finished in the peloton, more than seven minutes behind but crucially, alongside his main rivals for overall race leader. Froome now has an advantage on both Mollema and Alberto Contador of more than two minutes.
David Millar was part of an 18-man breakaway. The Garmin-Sharp rider was alongside team-mate Andrew Talansky in the group who enjoyed a lead of more than three minutes as they approached the final 80 kilometres of the 191km run from Saint-Pourcain-sur-Sioule.
The 18-man escape group battled it out for the stage win with the peloton happy to let the attackers go clear as Team Sky controlled proceedings on behalf of the maillot jaune. After a rapid start to the day Froome was finally afforded a comfortable ride to the finish, the peloton cruising in seven minutes and 16 seconds down on the day’s winner in front of a huge crowd in Lyon.
As the race headed towards its final 20km the escapees began attacking one another. Millar was one of the first to crack just before Julien Simon (Sojasun) bounded clear with 15km to go. However, his rivals weren’t willing to let the Frenchman pick up a home victory and things came back together in the final metres before Trentin took a strong stage win.
"That wasn’t that far from a perfect day for us today," Froome said. "Maybe we’d have made the first 80km a little more relaxed than it was. 25 guys going in the break caused a bit of stress and a lot of teams who missed out brought it upon themselves to bring that move back and weren’t able to - so guys were going flat out in that first part of the race today. It was a little more controlled towards the end with my team-mates on the front keeping an eye on things. They were great.
"A lot of people have lost time in the race now and a lot of people have reason to attack now. A lot of people have spent a lot of energy in the last few days so it’s going to be an interesting one and there’ll be quite a fight up on Mont Ventoux tomorrow. Winning on top of Mont Ventoux – in cycling terms that has to be a dream come true – I’m sure a lot of people will be going for it tomorrow."
British Cycling Performance Director and Team Sky Principal Sir Dave Brailsford also reinforced this view: "It was a pretty steady day really. When the break went Lampre and Euskaltel rode hard for the first half of the stage and then the guys just rode tempo for the rest of the stage. I think most people had one eye on tomorrow and they will be looking forward to tackling Mont Ventoux, just as we are.
"Our tactic will be to ride fast and I don’t think we have any reason to afraid of any other teams. Chris has already shown that he can climb really well and time trial really well. He’s in great shape and we’re really looking forward to it – we can’t wait to get onto Mont Ventoux tomorrow.
"Chris was in super condition today, as were the rest of the team, and they are excited too. They’ve been waiting for a long time for tomorrow’s stage. It’s going to be exciting and we want to race."
Stage 14 results:
1 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 4:15:11
2 Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-GreenEdge
3 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp
4 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team
5 Egoitz Garcia Echeguibel (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
6 Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto Belisol
7 Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano
8 Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ.fr
9 Pavel Brutt (Rus) Katusha
10 Cyril Gautier (Fra) Team Europcar
General Classification after 14 stages:
1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 55:22:58
2 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:02:28
3 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:02:45
4 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:02:48
5 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:03:01
6 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:04:39
7 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 0:04:44
8 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team 0:05:18
9 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:05:39
10 Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha 0:05:48