Roglic wins stage, Froome ex­tends Tour lead

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

SERRE-CHE­VA­LIER:

Former cham­pion ski­jumper Pri­moz Roglic took a sen­sa­tional solo vic­tory on the moun­tain­ous 183km 17th stage of the Tour de France yes­ter­day. Chris Froome came home third to stretch his over­all lead to 27 sec­onds as Rigob­erto Uran moved up to sec­ond and Fabio Aru dropped to fourth, with Ro­main Bardet re­main­ing third.

Slove­nia’s Roglic, 27, was ju­nior world ski­jump­ing cham­pion in 2007 but switched to cy­cling in 2012. “To win a stage, I’ve dreamt about it many times,” said Roglic, whose girl­friend and fam­ily were at the fin­ish of the Tour’s ‘Queen stage’, which started in La Mure.

“It’s crazy, in­cred­i­ble. There are no words. Right now I can­not re­ally form all these feel­ings. Later prob­a­bly I will know how big it is.” He was part of an ini­tial 33-man break­away that was whit­tled down to just six rid­ers when Roglic at­tacked solo 6.4km from the sum­mit of the hors cat­e­gory Col du Gal­i­bier, which at more than 2,600 me­tres above sea level was the high­est point of this year’s Tour.

He crested the climb, 28km from the fin­ish in Serre-Che­va­lier, with a lead of just over a minute and half on a group of chasers in­clud­ing the top con­tenders. On the de­scent, Roglic eas­ily man­aged his lead while a five-man chase group de­vel­oped, in­clud­ing Froome.

But Ital­ian Aru, who started the day sec­ond at 18sec, had been dropped by an ac­cel­er­a­tion from Bardet just be­fore the Gal­i­bier sum­mit and he was chas­ing des­per­ately to limit his losses. Uran took sec­ond, 1min 13sec be­hind Roglic, to snatch six bonus sec­onds that moved him up to sec­ond, on the same time as Bardet. Froome also took four bonus sec­onds for fin­ish­ing third to help in­crease his lead, and he re­vealed he was con­grat­u­lated by French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron at the fin­ish. “It’s a great hon­our to be con­grat­u­lated by the pres­i­dent, it’s also a very good thing for the Tour and the sport that he came here,” said Froome, 32. “My legs are bet­ter than in the Pyre­nees, to­day I felt good. I think also for to­mor­row, we have the fin­ish on the Col d’Izoard which will be very, very dif­fi­cult.”

Aru came in 31sec later to drop to fourth at 53sec ahead of to­day’s sec­ond straight Alpine stage with its bru­tal fin­ish at the sum­mit of the im­pos­ing Col d’Izoard.

BARDET AT­TACKS

Up front, Roglic proved the strong­est of the break­away rid­ers de­spite the pres­ence of twice former Tour win­ner Al­berto Con­ta­dor, who couldn’t fol­low the Slovene’s ac­cel­er­a­tion on the Gal­i­bier. Fur­ther down the moun­tain­side, Bardet and Ire­land’s Dan Martin put in a suc­ces­sion of at­tacks that split up the yel­low jer­sey con­tenders. Bri­ton Si­mon Yates was one of the first to strug­gle and even­tu­ally lost a cou­ple of min­utes to see his lead in the young rider’s com­pe­ti­tion ahead of South African Louis Mein­t­jes cut to 2min 28sec.

He also lost sixth place to Martin. Aru was the next to strug­gle with the suc­ces­sion of ac­cel­er­a­tions, firstly by Martin but then sev­eral times from Bardet. The French­man went over the sum­mit with Froome, Uran and War­ren Bar­guil for com­pany while Mikel Landa, the yel­low jer­sey’s Sky team-mate, caught them on the de­scent.

Be­hind, Aru kept los­ing time, with Yates drop­ping even more on the rapid drag down­hill to the fin­ish. Ear­lier in the stage, Colom­bian climber Nairo Quin­tana had been dis­tanced on the first cat­e­gory Col du Tele­graphe, the twice run­ner-up con­tin­u­ing to strug­gle dur­ing this year’s Tour hav­ing raced May’s Giro d’Italia. He dropped out of the top 10, with Con­ta­dor mov­ing back up to ninth and Bar­guil 10th.

Mean­while Ger­man sprint king Mar­cel Kit­tel pulled out be­fore the half­way point of the stage af­ter crash­ing in the first 20km. Kit­tel had won five stages dur­ing the race and held the sprint­ers’ green jer­sey, which has now passed to Aus­tralian Michael Matthews, win­ner of two stages him­self. —AFP

—AP

SERRE-CHE­VA­LIER: Stage win­ner Slove­nia’s Pri­moz Roglic, left, and Colom­bia’s Jhon Dar­win Ata­puma, right, climb dur­ing the sev­en­teenth stage of the Tour de France cy­cling race over 183 kilo­me­ters (113.7 miles) with start in La Mure and fin­ish in Ser­reChe­va­lier, France, yes­ter­day.

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