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Tour de France: Chris Froome extends lead with four stages remaining

By The Sports Xchange
Tour de France: Chris Froome extends lead with four stages remaining
Chris Froome of Great Britain. Photo by David Silpa/UPI | License Photo

Ilnur Zakarin won the first Alpine stage of the Tour de France on Wednesday and defending champion Chris Froome increased his overall lead with four stages remaining.

Zakarin of Russia used a breakaway in the final climb in the 114.6-mile 17th stage from the Swiss capital of Bern to the artificial lake of Finhaut-Emosson in Switzerland.

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Zakarin, 26, won the stage on the steep ascent to the finish as Froome powered away from his rivals.

Zakarin finished 55 seconds ahead of Colombian Jarlinson Pantano for his first stage win at cycling's biggest event. Poland's Rafal Majka was third, 1:26 back.

The 31-year-old Froome, the 2013 and 2015 champion from Britain, now has to survive just three more stages through the Alps before Sunday's mostly a ceremonial finish in Paris on the Champs Elysees.

"It was very difficult because of the heat," Froome said. "But my team were incredible, they did an amazing job and I was able to stay with the best."

Froome leads Dutch rider Bauke Mollema by 2:27 overall. Britain's Adam Yates is third, 2:53 back, and Nairo Quintana of Colombia fourth, 3:27 behind.

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