Published: Thu, July 26, 2018
Sports | By Brett Lawson

Froome crashes after police mistake him for fan

Froome crashes after police mistake him for fan

The most feared stage of this year's Tour de France is underway.

"Froomey said on the radio ↕ maybe 5K or 4K to go that he wasn't feeling super", Thomas said after increasing his lead to almost two minutes over Tom Dumoulin.

"I knew the last kilometres of the stage".

Thomas, who has never previously been in a position to win a grand tour, is keeping his feet on the ground.

Chris Froome's bad day continued after Stage 17 of the Tour de France when he crashed while riding down to his team bus after being mistaken for a fan by police, Team Sky said on Wednesday. The four-time champion had been racing under the cloud of a potential ban for using twice the permitted level of salbutamol during his victory at the Spanish Vuelta in September.

He said he has been repeatedly spat at since the race started, and spectators have punched him and tried to make him fall off his bike.

The pace in the bunch was steady, however, with Luke Rowe pulling all the way up for Team Sky, with their rivals waiting until the Col de Val Louron-Azet to put the pressure on. He's a great, great champion.

"It was a very intense day, but I've got no regrets", Froome told the media as he warmed down on the rollers.

Froome avoided injury and is set to start stage 18 on Thursday. Saturday's individual time trial will determine the final standings ahead of Sunday's parade to the Champs-Elysees.

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He lost 52 seconds to his Sky team-mate, who will surely now be confirmed as their No 1 rider despite the team's previous insistences that they would share their load equally - Froome has slipped to third, two minutes and 31 seconds off the lead compared to Dumoulin, who is just under two minutes away.

Thomas' 1:59 lead over Dumoulin is certainly strong, but it is not impregnable even at this late stage in the race.

The defending champion now has Dumoulin ahead of him and Roglic breathing down his neck in fourth, and while one can not write off Froome after his astonishing ride at the Giro d'Italia in May, it is unlikely that he will ride into Paris to claim a fifth Tout title this July. It was the Frenchman's second stage win, having powered to victory in the tenth stage earlier this month.

Quintana moved up to fifth position overall after the stage, still some three minutes and thirty seconds off the yellow jersey.

The 65-kilometre (40-mile) route from Bagneres-de-Luchon features three grueling climbs and hardly a stretch of flat road.

But the outcome at the summit of the Col du Portet may also herald a changing of the guard for Sky.

Yellow jersey-bearing Thomas latched onto his wheel immediately as did Primoz Roglic, but four-time Tour victor Froome had no response other than to grit his teeth and stick his tongue out.

Sagan made it to the finish with his jersey torn and said he had only injured his backside.

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