Froome Edging Closer To One More Tour
Chris Froome has officially crawled to within inches of winning his fourth Tour de France after the 18th Stage of the 2017 Tour. A fresh-faced and seemingly well-rested Froome all but hopped onto the podium on Thursday. Friday’s stage is bound to be a walk in the park by comparison – despite being longer than what the riders have grown accustomed to so far, and it would take nothing less than a puncture or a crash to jam a spanner into the works during Saturday’s stage. No wonder then that Froome has taken on the composure of a man who knows that Everest is now behind him.
Fabio Aru has slipped into overall 5th place, seemingly not able to gather sufficient strength to even reclaim 4th, with Mikel Landa more than likely making a daring dash for the podium on Saturday – in addition to his having been crowned King of the Mountains.
It was however Frenchman Warren Barguil’s turn for yet another stage win on Thursday – after having been the first Frenchman in 12 years to win a stage on Bastille Day during Stage 13. Barguil sealed Team Sunweb’s fourth 2017 stage victory in the breathtaking Alps on Thursday.
Team Sunweb is expected to finish this year’s Tour with two of the four jerseys.
Green Still Firmly In Aussie Michael Matthews’ Hands
Australian rider Michael Matthews has secured an even firmer grip on the green points jersey during Thursday’s race. Matthews still holds a lead of 160 points over next in line Andre Greipel, and the Aussie isn’t likely to let up any time soon.
Friday’s 222.5km route from Embrun to Salon-de-Provence is the longest stage of the Tour. The 19th Stage features three category three climbs and ends in a sprint – favouring those who are strong as well as quick – and by those we mean Andre Greipel.
Greipel was the man who lashed out at Peter Sagan after the world champion elbowed Mark Cavendish into a collision with the safety barriers at the side of the road during the 4th Stage of this year’s Tour de France. Sagan has subsequently been disqualified.
Greipel won the 21st Stage of the 2016 Tour de France and 2017 will be the 7th Tour de France of his cycling career.
Team Lotto-Soudal’s Andre Greipel is without a doubt the man to be watching on Friday during the 19th Stage.
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