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Chris Froome glad to put Tour's mountain stages behind him

23 July, 2017, 01:06 | Author: Christina Hansen
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Froome now leads the general classification by nearly a minute over Rigoberto Uran of Cannondale-Drapac, with only the processional stage into Paris remaining.

Froome conquered it anyway, drawing on his experience and the vast strength of his team to keep rivals at bay.

It was a joyous moment too for team boss Douglas Ryder, whose outfit uses it's Tour income to provide bicycles for Africans in rural areas.

"I think it was normal with a Frenchman in second place behind me on the start line, racing in Marseille and finishing in a football stadium".

"In the mountains there wasn't much difference and I improved a lot".

He will also be the first person to win three times in a row since Spain's Miguel Indurain in the early 1990s.

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"The key for me in the Tour with respect to Froome was the 51 seconds I lost in the opening stage time-trial in Dusseldorf", he said.

Bardet endured his first bad day of the three grueling weeks. But the French rider melted in the heat on the twisting and technical time trial course. "It certainly isn't getting easier each year".

He'd known from the start in Germany that this Tour would be unusual and likely open, because it had few mountain-top finishes, not huge amounts of time-trial kilometers, and many tricky days over all five of France's mountain ranges.

With no major difficulties, the 222.5km stage from Embrun in the Alps offered no real opportunity for Froome's rivals to claw back time. Of course, this year's Tour is almost at its end. "I have got a new-found appreciation for just how hard it is for those guys to have won five Tour de France".

There more British success in the shape of Simon Yates, who cemented his lead in the white jersey competition for the best young rider.

"That's when it struck me: We should have taken right", Keukeleire said.

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Shortly after Aru came into the finish 1.16 off Bodnar, as Rigoberto Uran had hearts pacing with a minor crash into the barriers, which he impressively recovered from to take 10th place. With another gruelling trip across the Alps and Pyrenees, who will wear the yellow jersey on the Champs-Elysees?

Yet it is the Cannondale-Drapac rider who Froome sees as his biggest threat with the time trial still looming.

However the biggest victor on the day was yellow jersey Chris Froome (Team Sky), who defended his lead and rode to an impressive third on the day, five seconds behind teammate Michal Kwiatkowski, who finished just one second behind Bodnar. Froome held it for 14 of 20 stages (14 of 21 following Sunday's ride).

This one did not come without a little stress either.

32-years-old, the team-mate of world champion Peter Sagan is among the best specialists in the " chrono ". "After the stage when I went alone I was thinking I need to do something nice again".

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