Sport

Barguil takes stage as Froome holds lead

Barguil takes stage as Froome holds lead”

"I'm really happy", Boasson Hagen said. "We plan for every metre of the end of these stages and we knew he had to go around the roundabout to the right".

"Everybody else following me did the same". "I have to do everything right".

"We couldn't catch them back".

"I don't know if everyone did the reconnaissance before, but when everyone went left I knew I had to go right", added Boasson Hagen.

Cavendish, who was watching at home with a fractured shoulder, joined in the celebrations for his team mate who is so often the unsung hero in the Manxman's sprint victories. "It's a bit disappointing, but that's how it is".

Chris Froome maintained his overall lead at the Tour de France while Edvald Boasson Hagen made a late charge to win Stage 19 on Friday.

"I think I have to treat it like any other time trial that I've done before", Froome said.

While Froome just wanted a relatively relaxing day in the saddle on what was this year's longest stage featuring three categorised climbs, Norway's Boasson Hagen had a score to settle - aiming to rid himself of the unwanted "nearly-man" jersey. After dropping Arndt inside the last two kilometres, this time no photo was required. "Sometimes you forget what happens in the (morning) meeting and follow the rest. When he made an attack I followed him, then I could counter-attack and he couldn't follow". "I normally find the Alps more hard". "I didn't have to have another photo finish so I'm happy about that".

His rivals are fast running out of opportunities to deny the Team Sky rider a third consecutive Tour crown after he conceded only four seconds on stage 18 to the top of the Col d'Izoard to keep a 23-second cushion over Frenchman Romain Bardet. Orica-Scott sports director Matt White said.

He was then edged out by Michael Matthews on stage 16 to Romans-sur-Isere, a victory that would have been all the sweeter for his South African-based team as it would have come on Mandela Day. The boys were good today.

That breakaway group split again with 20 kilometers (12 miles) left.

Today's 22.5km time-trial around Marseille offers Bardet and Uran one last chance to try to dethrone three-time victor Froome, who is widely considered the best time-trialist of the three.

It will take something of a miracle to stop Froome, the strongest time trialler of the trio, from winning his fourth Tour de France.



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