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TOUR DE FRANCE

Chris Froome wins Stage 18 and increases his overall lead

After a slow start, the British rider caught and passed Tom Dumoulin who had been leading for much of Thursday's 17km uphill time-trial. Things are hotting up behind.

Chris Froome wins Stage 18 and increases his overall lead
AFP

His victory in the 17km uphill time-trial on stage 18 of the Tour de France has put Chris Froome in an even stronger position increasing his overall lead to just under four minutes.

No rush

The reigning champion started slowly but overhauled long-time leader Tom Dumoulin, who won the first time-trial last week, to win by 21sec. Italian Fabio Aru pipped Richie Porte of Australia by a fraction of a second to take third at 33sec. Bauke Mollema of the Netherlands and Briton Adam Yates remained second and third overall respectively.

Froome was only fifth fastest at the first time-check 6.5km into the race against the clock but was up to third by the second and had taken the lead by the third. He timed his effort perfectly to claim his second stage victory of this year's Tour. He also gained 1min 25sec on Mollema to increase his overall lead to 3:52.

Great Britain's Christopher Froome gets some Union Jack support.

Champion elect but tight behind

With two more mountain stages to come before Sunday's final stage procession into Paris, Froome is as good as already crowned king of the Tour for the third time. But the battle for a podium finish hotted up as Mollema in second and Porte in sixth are separated now by just 1:08.

For Nairo Quintana, the Colombian who was second overall to Froome in 2013 and 2015, it was another disappointing day, although he did gain time on both Mollema and Yates. But fifth placed Romain Bardet of France and Porte both closed in on the Movistar leader, who is fourth.

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