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23 July 2017, 03:55 | Dan Bryan
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Chris Froome of Team Sky has thrilled fans by clinching the yellow jersey with a fanastic third place finish on the final time trial before the return to Paris on the final stage tomorrow.
Froome, the last rider to set off from the Stade Velodrome, finished third in the 22.5-kilometer stage won by Maciej Bodnar, and increased his overall lead.
Unless Team Sky skip usual protocol and make a move to get fourth-placed Mikel Landa on the podium during Sunday's processional ride to Paris, Bardet will finish third, having been runner-up to Froome past year.
"It would have been nice to take a bit of time today, but all in all I'm happy with that", the 32-year-old Froome said.
"The moment of the race for me was when he had his mechanical, changed the wheel and he had to get back on otherwise he was losing the race before the end of that steep climb".
Two years ago on a 17.3km course with two climbs, Bardet beat Froome by 10 seconds in a time-trial - this one is 5km longer but has only one climb, and one that suits Froome.
The British rider from Team Sky also won cycling's biggest race in 2013, 2015 and 2016.
Froome has always been a great time trial specialist and that's going to make it tougher for Romain Bardet.
As a outcome, Bardet moved a tiny bit closer to Froome overall, having been 27 seconds behind him at the start of the stage in Briancon.
The logic would be the same place Bardet behind Uran, separated from the French by a difference of just 6 seconds.
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Dutch rider Annemiek van Vleuten began 43sec clear of Lizzie Deignan of Britain after winning the opening stage by the margin. I've already seen the time trial course. It didn't seem likely that Simon Yates' white young rider jersey was under any real threat from Louis Meintjes, over two minutes behind.
Such a close race has called for an entirely different approach from Froome.
Team Sky's Luke Rowe was the first to complete the course. "I won't take any big risks like in Duesseldorf, but when I can push, I will push".
"I gave it all, I thought I was going to suffocate as I crossed the line", Bardet said.
Froome now leads the general classification by nearly a minute over Rigoberto Uran of Cannondale-Drapac, with only the processional stage into Paris remaining.
In 1990, Greg LeMond also took advantage of the final time trial to beat Claudio Chiappucci at Lac de Vassivière and, in 2011, Cadel Evans took the jersey from Andy Schleck in Grenoble.
The team classification is calculated by taking the times of the top three riders of each team across the line each day and adding them up.
Froome, who holds a 23-second lead over Romain Bardet, will be the last to start at 5:04 p.m.
The Frenchman suffered throughout much of the ride, effectively assuring Uran of at least a second place finish, despite the Colombian suffering a scare when he collided with a barrier approaching the finish.
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