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Froome in touching distance of a fourth Tour win

22 July 2017

For Barguil, the stage victory - his second of this year's Tour - underlined his superiority in the King of the Mountains Classification, which he has mathematically wrapped up, needing only to safely make it to Paris.

Froome's lead, while far smaller than at the same stage in the Tours he won in 2013, 2015 and 2016, is sufficient for him not to have to take unnecessary risks on the twisting and technical time-trial course in Marseille on Saturday.

Rigoberto Urán of Colombia moved into second over all at 54 seconds, while France's Romain Bardet held on for third by just one second ahead of Mikel Landa.

Froome shrugged off being jeered by the supporters inside the Stade Velodrome in Marseille where the stage started and finished to finish third fasted overall on the day.

The stage begins with champagne toasts and photo opportunities for yellow-jersey holder Chris Froome and the other riders wearing one of the Tour's four leader's jerseys, but ends with the most intense field sprint of the Tour.

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The trundling Sky-led peloton arrived 12 and a half minutes after their former team-mate.

Chris Froome, Romain Bardet an Rigoberto Uran.

"I gave it all, I thought I was going to suffocate as I crossed the line", Bardet said.

After surviving this week's Alpine stages Froome arrived in the historic French port with a slender 23-second lead over France's Romain Bardet but with ideal weather conditions, there were no scares as he produced a scorching ride to finish only six seconds behind Pole Bodnar.

Katusha's world champion Tony Martin came close to the Pole by 14-seconds and it looked for a while like Bodnar's compatriot Michal Kwiatkowski would take over the hot seat, but Bora's man hung on by a second, Sky's rider only 0.03km/h slower. This time trial will throw up some drama.

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Bardet had a mediocre time trial and the AG2R-La Mondiale rider, runner-up a year ago, salvaged a podium finish by one second to finish third, 2:20 off the pace, with Froome's Spanish team mate Mikel Landa taking fourth place.

It's hard to preview a time trial without mentioning Tony Martin ([9.00]), but he's been quiet in the Tour and there are concerns around his form.

"I'm happy that I went through the Alps without any major problem", the 32-year-old Froome said.

The Tour concludes Sunday along the Champs-Elysees in Paris. "I rode this time trial with my head, not my legs", said Bardet. The final victory will be played tomorrow in Marseille.

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