Quintana cracks on Alpine stage, Froome extends lead

Shades of the 2014 the 2014 Critérium du Dauphin

Colombian climber Nairo Quintana lags 2:59 behind in fourth.

FINHAUT-EMOSSON, Switzerland - For a fleeting moment in the dying minutes of the 17th stage of the Tour de France Wednesday, it was like the good old days for Chris Froome.

"I haven't seen that", Froome said, before complimenting Zakarin on his performance. "It's a massive bonus to take more time on the rivals".

"This result is not a surprise for me, in the first week I also tried to go for it", said Zakarin, who fractured a collarbone earlier this year at the Giro d'Italia after crashing in a downhill.

Quintana, who was the first to respond to Porte's attack and then Froome's counter, cracked badly and lost 28sec to the race leader. Instead, he was powerless to do anything but watch when Froome accelerated with less than two kilometers left.

"I just wanted to get a feeling for how the group was, and who was reacting and who to look out for", Froome said. I still have a lot of years ahead of me to fight for the "yellow jersey dream". Given the big gaps which the Kenya-born rider has already opened up, the news does not bode well for his rivals.

Froome put in a burst inside the final 2km to chase after former Sky team-mate Richie Porte of Australia and put time into all his other rivals.

Both Froome and Porte eventually ended 28 seconds ahead of Quintana and a further 12 clear of Mollema.

As Froome crossed the line alongside, Quintana was dropped by Adam Yates, who rode away to boost his hopes of a podium finish.

Then when Sky's tempo eased ever so slightly, Porte struck, as he explained: "I spoke with the sports directors this morning and they said to me, 'Use your head, and if you feel like it, attack.' I have to [gain time] anyhow".

"It was a good day".

Russia's Ilnur Zakarin won the 184.5km 17th stage from Bern to Finhaut-Emosson in Switzerland ahead of Sunday's stage 15 victor Jarlinson Pantano of Colombia.

Chris Froome insists the Tour de France is not done and dusted, despite the Team Sky rider increasing his advantage to two minutes and 27 seconds on stage 17.

After several breakaway attempts, a group of 14 riders including world champion Peter Sagan formed at the front of the race.

At the end of this 184.5km stage from Berne, Froome now leads Trek-Segafredo's Mollema by two minutes and 27 seconds after the Dutchman gave up 40 seconds on the climb to the Emosson Dam.

The scenic route near Mont Blanc took the peloton up and down serpentine roads between neatly arranged vineyards with snowcapped peaks in the distance.

Poland's Rafal Majka continued to animate the race and went away with Colombia's Jarlinson Pantano prior to the 13km long Col de la Forclaz, but they were caught by Zakarin inside the final eight kilometres of the stage.

Zakarin rode clear of stage 15 victor Jarlinson Pantano of IAM Cycling and Tinkoff's Rafal Majka in the king of the mountain's polka dot jersey to collect his first Tour de France stage win.


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