It's my Tour to lose, says Froome

Playing to win… Romain Bardet needs to gap Chris Froome today if he’s to stand any chance of overall victory

It's my Tour to lose, says Froome

Edvald Boasson Hagen ended a run of near-misses to take stage 19 of the Tour de France on an uneventful day for race leader Chris Froome who moved to the brink of overall victory on Friday.

The Tour concludes Sunday along the Champs-Elysees in Paris.

Although Bardet, who finished as runner-up to Froome previous year, is closer at the start of the day, Froome has admitted it is the ex-Sky rider Uran who worries him more in a battle against the clock.

With no major difficulties, the 222.5km stage from Embrun in the Alps offered no real opportunity for Froome's rivals to claw back time.

Also, experiences like the one a year ago where he and five team mates were hit by a vehicle when out training in Spain - "we could all have died", he said at the time - ensure he has a grounded approach to life.

The Team Sky alpha dog is clearly on his way to third consecutive Tour De France title.

Neither Froome nor Uran will likely win Stage 20, but their battle is the one to watch regardless.

A strong display in the individual time trial in Marseille, the penultimate stage, from the Team Sky rider will effectively secure his place at the top of the general classification for the fourth time and third in succession.

Michal Kwiatkowski came second on Stage 20 by a second from Maciej Bodnar who stopped the clock in 28min 15sec.

French favourite Bardet clung on to the final podium spot by just ONE sec from Froome's Sky team-mate Mikel Landa.

Certainly at this point it's my race to lose.

"That's when it struck me: We should have taken right", Keukeleire said. "Now we have the time trial but the Tour is already a success".

"I would rather be in my position than having to make up time". The best and perhaps most important example of his unremitting ability to keep concentrating day to day was the uphill finish at Rodez where he regained the yellow jersey from Fabio Aru.

The Tour de France final stage is widely considered a processional occasion with the teams agreeing not to attack the yellow jersey out of respect for his achievements over three weeks of racing.

"I think I have to treat it like any other time trial that I've done before", Froome said.

"I had studied the course and I knew I had to go right in that last roundabout". "I finally got my victory".

Right in front of them, Frenchman Warren Barguil - wearing the best climber's red-and-white polka dot jersey - swapped race anecdotes with Australian Michael Matthews, wearing the green jersey awarded for the Tour's top sprinter.

They will have to leave something in the tank for a finish which is as high as 2,360 metres above sea level after the race returns to the Col du Vars following a 17-year absence. I have to treat it like any other time trial.

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