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Roclic Climbs to Stage Victory in Tour de France

Roclic Climbs to Stage Victory in Tour de France

"I normally find the Alps more hard".

As a outcome, Bardet moved a tiny bit closer to Froome overall, having been 27 seconds behind him at the start of the stage in Briancon.

"Anything could happen still, it's still very close".

He also believes it offers the flawless battleground for Froome to kill off his rivals once and for all after keeping them under control on the daunting Galibier on Wednesday.

Warren Barguil rode one of his best as he slowly get pass through all the remaining breakaways in the final 5km and won the stage.

Fending off Bardet's attacks, and putting in a strong one of his own that initially rattled yet didn't shake off the sturdy Frenchman, he preserved a cushion of 23 seconds overall that, unless disaster strikes in the shape of a crash or other misfortune, should be enough for victory. "It is a shame because I feel good and that motivates me, but the chances left are not many", he said. "I have nothing to regret". From the general classification group he is the next strongest in time trials.

Further up the road, it was Barguil (Sunweb) who took the acclaim on the climb up the Col d'Izoard, the polka-dot jersey holder denying Darwin Atapuma a first individual Grand Tour stage triumph as he caught the Colombian and then surged clear in the final kilometer.

The 25-year-old has enjoyed an outstanding Tour after a miserable time with injuries in the last 18 months.

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Col d'Izoard - Chris Froome may be sitting pretty in yellow and on the brink of winning a fourth Tour de France, but he remains frustrated by his inability to taste a stage victory this year.

"I'm just living in my dream at the moment, it's just insane", said Barguil, who also won the 13th stage on Bastille Day.

"I had a lot hard luck".

Italian Fabio Aru, on the other hand, fell behind on the barren slopes of scree and patchy grass in the thinning air of the mighty Col du Galibier, one of the Tour's most fearsome Alpine climbs.

"It's a big relief", Team Sky leader Froome, now looking nearly certain to claim a fourth victory in five years, said.

Orica-Scott's Simon Yates, meanwhile, finished ahead of Louis Meintjes of UAE Team Emirates and now has more than 2 minutes' advantage over the South African, and the rider from Lancashire looks in good shape to take to the podium in Paris on Sunday in the best young rider's white jersey his twin brother Adam won previous year.

"I did my utmost", Bardet said. "I'll give it my best shot".

Having put up Primoz Roglic at the start of the Tour, and tipping him for stage honours along the way, it was a little frustrating to see him get his Stage 17 win on the day he carried none of my money.


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