World’s one of the toughest sporting event, Tour de France is slowly reaching its final stage. Started from July 1st, it has, so far, completed 17 stages out of the total 21 stages. And Britain’s Chris Froome, who extended his lead to 27 seconds at the end of a brilliant stage 17 won by Slovenia’s Primoz Roglic, takes stage 17 to his name. Froome was third in a thrilling mountain stage during which Fabio Aru slipped from second to fourth overall.
There are now four stages remaining, with a potentially crucial summit finish in Izoard on Thursday. Froome had lost time on the drag up to the mountain-top finish in Peyragudes on stage 12. In-form Colombian Rigoberto Uran and French favourite Romain Bardet are second and third in the standings – both 27 seconds behind the leader. There stood only a difference of 29 seconds between the top four as the riders rolled out of La Mure for the 183km stage.
Froome, who had almost lost it due to the mountain drag up, pulled up the gear to lead a group of five riders in pursuit of Roglic. Primoz Roglic, a former junior world ski jumping champion, had launched off the front of the remnants of a breakaway and powered over the Galibier, at 2,642m the highest point of this year’s race and the final climb of the stage. He then showed great skill and nerve during the long downhill drag to Serre-Chevalier to maintain his 90-second lead.
Behind him, the group led by Froome which included fellow GC contenders Bardet and Uran, distanced some of their rivals. The isolated Aru was the biggest casualty, but Ireland’s Dan Martin and Britain’s Simon Yates also lost time, although the latter remains in the white jersey as the race’s best young rider.
The race now enters the 18th stage. At 179.5 kilometres, stage 18 in the Tour de France leaves from Briançon to travel to a summit on the Izoard Pass. The last mountain stage in this year’s Grande Boucle is played out on rolling roads before two long and steep climbs kick in with 60 kilometres remaining. Catch all the highlights of Tour de France in India only on DSport.