Quintana wins stage 17 as Thomas extends Tour de France lead

Saturday, 28 Jul, 2018

"But we have to keep on fighting". I gave everything, I worked super hard in the mountains ahead of the Tour de France.

The stage was everything we'd hoped for, and at the end, Nairo Quintana had won Movistar's first stage of the Tour and Geraint Thomas looked like a virtual tour victor in waiting.

"I could have quite easily fallen or whatever, lost a bit of time or certainly not gained the time that I did", Thomas said.

Dumoulin is the world time trial champion, and Roglic also a powerhouse on the rise, but Thomas will be confident of defending his advantage on the upcoming 31 kilometre race against the clock which will settle the general classification fight. "I would have loved to take some time, but I need to wait".

Chris Froome has fallen off the podium as teammate Geraint Thomas's grip on the lead firms.

The gendarme knocked the 33-year-old Team Sky star over and grabbed him by the arm shortly after he had finished stage 17 of the gruelling race.

As Quintana settled into his stage-winning groove, a flurry of attacks from Thomas' group were unleashed, several from Roglič.

Wearing a gray rain jacket over his Team Sky kit and riding his race bike with the No.1 on his frame tag, Froome exchanged words with the gendarme.

Primoz Roglic celebrates after winning stage 19
Primoz Roglic celebrates after winning stage 19

Thomas had raced clear of Tom Dumoulin and Primoz Roglic and was on his way to extending his lead in the yellow jersey when the incident happened. It was a move in which Dumoulin then encouraged Roglič to contribute after Roglič and Thomas followed him, but without Froome in tow. But it did boost his confidence for the finale.

"I had good legs and today all the hard work I did paid off", he said.

"Initially I thought, 'What's this?!' as I just felt my handlebars go as I was passing".

Chris Froome said he would now look after his team mate Geraint Thomas in the final days of the Tour de France after losing more time to the yellow jersey holder on Wednesday's 17th stage.

The Frenchman added that comments from German rival Andre Greipel, who accused him of holding on to a auto to make it through the mountains, spurred him on. "It didn't feel like a grab, but like a hit", Thomas said prior to the start of stage 18 from Trie-sur-Baise to Pau.

Unlike grand tour contenders that rely on climbing talents, such as Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates), Nairo Quintana (Movistar), or Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale), Dumoulin's strength lies in the time trials.

The first sprint stage since last Friday was contested by a vastly depleted field of quick men following the exits of Mark Cavendish, Marcel Kittel, Andre Greipel, Fernando Gaviria, Dylan Groenewegen and Michael Matthew at various points in the Tour so far.

After his chance for a fifth title was all but dashed, he was "crash-tackled" by police, who mistook Froome for a fan He was looking to win a record-equalling fifth Tour and cracked two kilometers from the finish in a 16-km punishing climb up to the Col du Portet. Vincenzo Nibali, who won the stage, took the jersey off Esteban Chaves a day later and claimed overall victory.