Sky's Thomas poised for victory as record-chasing Froome breaks

Chris Froome was angered by a police officer

Chris Froome was angered by a police officer

Froome crashed amid the confusion but avoided injury and is set to ride stage 18.

Thomas extended his overall lead to one minute 59 seconds over Dutchman Tom Dumoulin, who leapfrogged defending champion Froome into second, after a decisive attack two kilometres from the finish of a brutal 17th stage at the top of the Col du Portet.

Kangert went over the top of the Montee de Peyragudes with the trio of Alaphilippe, Herrada, and Durasek followed by a group that consisted of Alejandro Valverde, Marc Soler (Movistar), Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) Dani Navarro, Jesus Herrada (Cofidis), Dani Martinez (EF-Drapac), and Omar Fraile (Astana), with the peloton behind as Nairo Quintana, who suffered two punctures on the first climb but was back on easily.

"I didn't want to risk anything, which was why I left it as late as possible", said Thomas, when asked about his strategy. "I'm going to suffer a little bit, that's all". Steven Kruijswijk was just off them and only lost a few seconds late on, whilst also taking a place from Bardet.

Yesterday morning, Greipel wrote: "My apology go out to @ArnaudDemare and @GroupamaFDJ as I have had not the right to make that tweet based on Global Positioning System time, which can be wrong, plus I got the incorrect times he lost on the last hill". "As soon as you get carried away, it's when it goes downhill", the two-time Olympic track champion said.

"Just try to think about what you are doing", Portal said.

But the penultimate stage features a spiteful profile, including an energy-sapping final climb up the 22 percent gradient Col de Pinodieta, which could be the undoing of many hopefuls within sight of the Champs-Elysees.

José Mourinho refuses to be drawn on Manchester United’s title chances
The 25-year-old had a hard season at United last season, with Mourinho dropping him at several points' through-out last campaign. Mourinho was speaking to the media in Los Angeles before his side's pre-season friendly against AC Milan on Thursday.

"Having Froomey at my disposal, so to speak, is just, like, phenomenal", said Thomas. "Because if Froomey was suffering, everyone was suffering".

Thomas will at least have the support of four-time victor Froome, who admitted he was now riding for his friend and team-mate after he lost time during Wednesday's 17th stage, falling to third.

"We're expecting the worst", admitted Thomas. "I think that's the main reason for our success so far at this Tour". He had been making his way back to the Team Sky bus after completing Stage 17 of the historic race.

There were also fears over Froome's safety before the Tour began. "That's what a team is all about".

An early breakaway sparked by Estonian Tanel Kangert (Astana) and "King of the Mountains" Julian Alaphilippe eventually came to nothing, although the Quick-Step rider picked up 18 precious points for his polka dot jersey.

With 6.5 kilometres to go Nairo Quintana went solo and dropped Majka, flying towards a stage victory, and just a kilometre later Romain Bardet went backwards and quickly too, a letdown for AGSR who had called all in on their leader and were seeing the mountain take the chips.

Geraint Thomas is braced for attacks from his rivals as he faces the final mountain stage of the Tour de France on Friday.

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