Britain's Chris Froome predicts his increasingly desperate yellow jersey rivals to launch “all or nothing” attacks in the last few stages of the Tour de France.
Froome successfully withstood two attempts by nearest challenger Nairo Quintana to cut his more than three-minute lead yesterday on the first of four Alpine stages.
The Team Sky rider also saw American Tejay van Garderen of BMC Racing, until Saturday his closest rival, abandon the Tour, while two-time champion Alberto Contador fell further behind following a crash.
Froome finished on the same time as Movistar’s Quintana to preserve his three lead of three minutes and 10 seconds over the Colombian. German Simon Geschke won the 17th stage at Pra Loup.
Read more: Froome retains Tour advantage
“He is running out of opportunities,” 2013 winner Froome said of Quintana. “There are only three more stages left to race. They’re really tough stages. I was quite surprised to see him jumping around 60km into the race today; a few guys going for it really early.
“I’m definitely getting the feeling it’s an all or nothing approach at this stage in the race.”
Froome’s team-mate Geraint Thomas profited from the setbacks to Van Garderen and Contador to climb to fourth in the overall standings, boosting his hopes of a podium finish in Paris on Sunday. The Welshman is six minutes and 34 seconds behind his colleague.