Froome on brink of Tour de France glory

Cannondale-Drapac rider Rigoberto Uran and team co-owner Michael Drapac

Cannondale-Drapac rider Rigoberto Uran and team co-owner Michael Drapac. Supplied

Barring a crash or a mechanical failure he will emerge into the Stade Velodrome with the yellow jersey secured for a third successive year, and his fourth in total, before Sunday's traditional Champagne ride into Paris.

Only 22 km realistically stands between Chris Froome and a third consecutive Tour de France triumph but the British rider says he can not rest easy.

"It doesn't diminish it by not winning a stage", Froome, who managed at least one stage victory in 2013, 2015 and 2016, told reporters.

Uran leapfrogged Frenchman Romain Bardet, who completes the podium positions, just one second ahead of Froome's teammate Mikel Landa.

"But I'm really happy with today. I've got the legs, and hopefully everything else will be alright".

Riding his fifteenth and final Tour de France, veteran Thomas Voeckler was given a raucous send off when he rolled down the ramp to rapturous applause. But coming after nearly three weeks of toil and effort, traversing five mountain ranges notably, then Froome and his rivals can't afford to relax, even with one eye on Saturday's race against the clock.

However the biggest victor on the day was yellow jersey Chris Froome (Team Sky), who defended his lead and rode to an impressive third on the day, five seconds behind teammate Michal Kwiatkowski, who finished just one second behind Bodnar.

But this year he has not finished higher than third in a stage and in fact hasn't won any race of any kind in 2017, until his expected coronation tomorrow.

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"Was a case of making sure there weren't any massive losses on any days". Sagan's subsequent disqualification left the German team looking for another stage win, and Bodnar delivered on the seaside course in Marseilles.

"It's nice to get through the Alps feeling good and looking forward to the time trial now in Marseille", added Froome.

"If you have a bad day in the mountains you can lose minutes". "I won't take any big risks like in Duesseldorf, but when I can push, I will push".

I heard one of the French commentators saying, "the bunch took it easy today" but we didn't take it easy at all. I'm blown away, it's just an fantastic feeling.

The 22.5km will be as short as it can be to settle the victor of this year's Tour de France.

But any such romantic notions of Frenchman Bardet overturning his 23sec deficit to Froome had disappeared long before the end of Saturday's 22.5km race against the clock, which began and ended in Marseille's iconic Velodrome football stadium.

And Froome gave short shrift to rivals who might hope he will slow down one day.

I went to the front and tried to close the gap so that some of the guys could jump across but I wasn't making much inroads on my own.

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