Cavendish pulls out of Tour de France

Kristoff thought he won and pumped his fist in celebration, only to learn seconds later he hadn't. "I said at the beginning of the race I wanted to be at my best in the third week and I think I'm on track for that". "It's unbelievable. After so many times finishing 2nd..."

Froome put that down to how hard the racing has been as the riders have tackled plenty of climbing in the early days while flat days were made stressful by howling crosswinds. Then it was a insane finale, very technical. I can't afford that before an Olympic Games so I will take it as it comes. "He jumped very late and that's how I won".

Chris Froome believes the strength of Team Sky in the Tour de France must be sapping at the morale of his rivals for the yellow jersey.

Froome's lead over his nearest challengers, Bauke Mollema of the Netherlands and British compatriot Adam Yates, stays at 1min 47sec and 2:45 respectively. "I've loved the way he has raced this race in terms of opportunities he has taken on the descents and downhill, the cross winds and when he got some more seconds [in] the time trial".

And how does a champion spend his rest day? "I wouldn't look at him in the same light as Nairo Quintana. I wouldn't expect him to attack in the big mountain stages", he said. "Everybody had an interest in the sprint".

Sagan of Slovakia edged Alexander Kristoff of Norway at the line as the race crossed into Switzerland.

He wore the race leaders yellow jersey for the first time after winning the opening stage at Utah Beach, Normandy. "I don't agree", he said. "One year is not good but still I can not say that last year or two years was bad. I didn't win but that is the sport".

Team Sky rider Froome is a two-time Tour victor and during his victories in 2013 and 2015 he had to contend with consistent allegations of doping.

"We've only had one real mountain-top finish so far, on the Mont Ventoux, and we all know what happened there", said Froome, referring to his desperate run uphill after crashing heavily and breaking his bike. He can do everything. "He chooses when he wants to go in the breakaway, how he wants to ride the finish".

Cycling - Tour de France cycling race - The 162.5 km (101 miles) Stage 11 from Carcassone to Montpel ...

"I wish Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka and all the other competitors luck in the final few days into Paris, a special place that I will definitely miss the emotions of this year".

Four of the five stages remaining are in the Alps, where the sprinters won't have the chance to add to their tallies.

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