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Froome drops to third as Quintana wins Tour's 17th stage

Froome drops to third as Quintana wins Tour's 17th stage

Geraint Thomas retained the yellow jersey after a late crash deprived Adam Yates a shot at a stage victory in the Tour de France, as Julian Alaphilippe won his second stage of the 2018 edition.

The overall standings were unchanged with Geraint Thomas in the yellow jersey, second-placed Chris Froome and third-placed Tom Dumoulin each crossing 8 minutes, 52 seconds behind.

Quintana, a specialist climber, powered up the steep 65km course, being ridden for the first time this year, to finish ahead of Ireland's Dan Martin and Thomas, who increased his overall lead over the pack.

"Briton Geraint Thomas, who is in the leader's yellow jersey, four-time victor and team-mate Chris Froome, and world champion Peter Sagan of Slovakia were among those affected", the BBC notes.

Asked if he had any injuries, Yates added: "Just bad morale - when you come so close to winning a stage, not just for me but for the team, we've been working for a while to win one of these stages".

Five years after claiming his maiden Tour stage win in the Alps, the diminutive rider from Movistar triumphed at the summit of Col du Portet in the Pyrenees, a mountain top 2,215 meters above sea level.

In a freakish postscript to a dramatic day in the Pyrenees, Froome was riding off the top of the final climb of the day - the Col du Portet - after the race had finished when he was grabbed by an over officious gendarme.

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At one point it looked like going the other way, with Froome following an attack by LottoNL-Jumbo's Roglic midway up the climb, leaving Thomas to sit on the wheel of Dumoulin as the Dutchman worked to shut down the move.

"This stage is going to be massively decisive, there are going to be big gaps", said Thomas.

After the Tour's second rest day, the first drama of the stage came early on and from an unlikely source - the race temporarily neutralised after 29km because of farmers blocking the road with hay bales.

"I just sprayed some water, water in the eyes, water on the face", he said. "We're riding so well as a team, that's the reason I'm in this jersey".

Tour director Christian Prudhomme called on spectators to behave themselves, given the already risky nature of the event - evidenced by Philippe Gilbert's crash when leading on Tuesday that ultimately led to the Quick-Step Floors man withdrawing from the race.

"After a 15 minute-long interruption caused by protesters, the race is back on", organizers said in a brief statement on leTour.fr.

Riders who have finished the race often descend down the final climb of a stage, even when the race is still on. "That gave me confidence because I knew if Froomey suffered, everyone suffered".