Britain's Chris Froome climbs during the seventeenth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 65 kilometers (40.4 miles) with start in Bagneres-de-Luchon and finish in Saint-Lary-Soulan, Col du Portet pass, France, Wednesday July 25, 2018. The Tour de France thinks it has some solutions to liven up the action with today's shorter mountain stage with three grueling climbs, including an uphill finish, intermediate bonus sprints, and a Formula One-like grid start. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena )

Froome cracks in the Pyrenees as Thomas solidifies Tour lead

July 25, 2018 - 11:54 am

SAINT-LARY-SOULAN, France (AP) — Four-time champion Chris Froome cracked in the feared 17th stage of the Tour de France through the Pyrenees on Wednesday, solidifying Sky teammate Geraint Thomas' hold on the yellow jersey.

Colombian climber Nairo Quintana won the short mountainous stage with a solo attack up the brutal finishing climb to Col du Portet.

Quintana, a three-time podium finisher in the Tour, finished 28 seconds ahead of Irish rider Dan Martin, while Thomas crossed third, 47 seconds back.

Froome finished eighth, 1:35 behind, and dropped from second to third overall, a distant 2 minutes, 31 seconds behind Thomas.

Tom Dumoulin moved up to second, 1:59 behind Thomas, who is seeking his first Grand Tour victory.

Froome is attempting to match the Tour record of five victories shared by Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain.

It was Quintana's second career stage victory in the Tour, having also won a leg in 2013.

A Formula One-like grid start introduced to the Tour for the first time had little impact on the race as Thomas and Froome waited for their Sky teammates to join them.

After a less arduous Stage 18 on Thursday, there is another mountainous leg in the Pyrenees on Friday, followed by an individual time trial on Saturday before the three-week race ends Sunday in Paris.

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