Chris Froome widens narrow Tour de France lead as Roglic wins in Alps

Primoz Roglic won stage 17 of the Tour de France to Serre-Chevalier as Chris Froome finished third and retained the yellow jersey

The finish at the summit of the Col dIzoard will provide another reshuffle, probably a more meaningful one, but over another great ascending, the Galibier, the first Alpine stage more than a few clues of what may be seen amidst the Death Valley decor of the Casse Deserte. The Slovenian day triallist Primoz Roglic was a worthy winner at the expense of Alberto Contador, but they were essentially the warm-up act.

With the help of his team-mate Mikel Landa, Chris Froome brushed aside attacks from Romain Bardet and Daniel Martin to retain the yellow jersey, gaining ground on all his contenders apart from Rigoberto Urn, while Fabio Aru appears to be running out of steam and Simon Yatess grip on the white jersey is far from secure.

With its bleak screes and vermicelli hairpins, the Galibier is perhaps the most daunting Alpine climb tackled regularly by the Tour, absence only a few sunbleached bones to make it the perfect picture of desolation. But the time gaps that may prove critical by the weekend were opened on the descent, on the more straightforward high-speed road down from the Col du Lautaret into the finish.

The final five kilometres to the summit high above the village of Valloire were punctuated by attacks from Martin and Bardet, who repeatedly attempted to set Froome under pressure. Landa seems as if he has yet to stretch his legs in this race, but each time Bardet sprinted away, it was Froome who responded, with Urn marking the pair, then, almost invariably, Landa catching up as well.

The repeated accelerations watched off first Yates, and then Aru, who both did the elastic as the jargon has it, dropping off then clawing his way back just in time for the next increased number of pace to begin the whole painful process again. By the summit, Aru was 13 sec behind Froome, Landa, Bardet and Urn, with Yates further back. The gaps widened on the 28 km descent, and by the finish Aru had lost 31 sec, pushing him down the stands to fourth.

Roglic, however, had already taken flight for a victory which Contador had done his utmost to claim. The Spaniard has not won a Tour stage since 2009, but played a tactical blinder here, placing two team-mates, Bauke Mollema and Jarlinson Pantano, in the early escape of 33 riders, bridging to the move on the Col de la Croix de Fer, then utilizing his colleagues to forge what should have been a stage-winning gap by the foot of the Galibier.

Contador was unlucky to fall upon Roglic, a former junior ski jump champ who has been climbing well in this Tour, but is better known for winning a time-trial stage in the Giro dItalia in 2016. When Roglic constructed his final move 6km from the top of the Galibier after a certain sum of sparring with Contador and the Tour de Yorkshire winner Serge Pauwels the Spaniard had no answer.

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Stage winner Primoz Roglic descends the Col du Galibier. Photo: Bryn Lennon/ Getty Images

As the leaders passed the Henri Desgrange monument atop the roof of the Tour, the mountains leader Warren Barguil sprinted past Contador as if he were standing. As an image of the new generation ousting the old, it could hardly have been bettered. Now in his 35 th year, Contador will not retire until the end of next year; this was supposed to be his last Tour but now he is sounding less certain.

There were day bonuses up for grabs for second and third place behind Roglic; Urn has been best at this game and snatched 6sec, while Froome took four. The upshot is that Urn and Bardet are equal on time in second and third, 27 sec adrift, which is the kind of margin that can be lost, won or wholly obliterated in a few hundred metres on the Izoard. Yates, meanwhile, lost 1min 30 sec to his direct challenger for the under-2 5 award, Louis Meintjes, but still has 2min 28 sec in hand.

If yellow and white are still in abeyance, the green and polka-dot tunics are all but decided. The phases combat was cut short when the five-times stage winner Marcel Kittel abandoned after an early mass pile-up in which the British champ Steve Cummings objective up head over heels in the middle of a field. That places Michael Matthews in green by 160 points uncatchable in other words his teammate Barguil, meanwhile, has a solid margin at the head of the mountains standings in spite of meanders sustained in the same crash.

Kittels departure objective a bitter couple of days for the Quickstep team , now down to six, while the FDJ squad is reduced to three after Thibaut Pinots departure. And the Alps also objective the daily torture suffered by the British sprinter Dan McLay, who had survived many combats with the broom wagon and the time cut, but abandoned at the foot of the Galibier when it was clear this was not one he could win.

Stage 17 results( La Mure to Serre-Chevalier, 183 km ): 1) Primoz Roglic( LottoNL-Jumbo) 5h 7m 41 s. 2) Rigoberto Uran( Cannondale-Drapac) +1:13. 3) Chris Froome( Team Sky) ST. 4) Romain Bardet( AG2R La Mondiale) ST. 5) Warren Barguil( Team Sunweb ). 6) Mikel Landa( Team Sky) +1:16. 7) Daniel Martin( Quick-Step Floors) +1:43. 8) Alberto Contador( Trek-Segafredo) +1:44. 9) Louis Meintjes( UAE Team Emirates) ST. 10) Fabio Aru( Astana Pro Team) ST. General category after stage 17 : 1) Chris Froome( Team Sky) 73 h 27 m 26 s. 2) Rigoberto Uran( Cannondale-Drapac) +27. 3) Romain Bardet( AG2R La Mondiale) ST. 4) Fabio Aru( Astana Pro Team) +53. 5) Mikel Landa( Team Sky) +1:24. 6) Daniel Martin( Quick-Step Floors) +2:37. 7) Simon Yates( Orica-Scott) +4:07. 8) Louis Meintjes( UAE Team Emirates) +6:35. 9) Alberto Contador( Trek-Segafredo) +7:45. 10) Warren Barguil( Team Sunweb) +8:52.

New route for La Course

The fourth edition of La Course will transgress new ground on Thursday as the womens race expands into a two-stage event for the first time. La Course had been run for the past three years as a criterium on the Champs lyses circuit on the final day of the Tour de France, a format which depicted criticism from top racers such as Lizzie Deignan and allowed sprinters to predominate. The womens peloton will first fight it out on the formidable Col dIzoard climb on a 67.5 km stage on Thursday before a pursuit in Marseille on Saturday. Deignan will be flying the flag for Britain but Annemiek van Vleuten who crashed horrifically at the Rio Olympics is one of the favourites for the first stage.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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