Tour de France: Chris Froome crashes after police mistake him for fan

Geraint Thomas extended his overall lead to 2:05 by finishing second on Stage 19

France's Arnaud Demare won the Tour de France's flat 18th stage on Thursday, after finishing last on Tuesday and next to last on Wednesday in mountain stages.

Demare benefited from the mountains depleting the sprint field the last two weeks.

Thomas extended his overall lead to one minute 59 seconds over Dutchman Tom Dumoulin, who leapfrogged defending champion Froome into second, after a decisive attack two kilometres from the finish of a brutal 17th stage at the top of the Col du Portet. Froome went on the wheels early and at one point maintained a gap on the wheel of Roglic but when Doumlin attacked late, he blew up. Several rivals huffed and puffed, but the walls around Thomas remained firm, even if Primoz Rogic and his LottoNL-Jumbo team at least threatened to open up the race.

The race came to life at the foot of the Tourmalet, as Ilnur Zakarin of Katusha-Alpecin attacked and drew out Movistar's Mikel Landa, AG2R La Mondiale's Bardet, and Bora-Hansgrohe's Rafal Majka.

Froome has also been spat at and shoved by angry spectators amid simmering resentment towards Team Sky's domination of cycling's showpiece event.

Dumoulin knows he needs a miracle of sorts to take the yellow jersey. That forced Tom Dumoulin and Roglic to also make their move, which Thomas had to follow.

"At that altitude, as soon as you dig deep, it bites you in the ass", he said. "It was a bit of a shock but luckily I was OK". "What will be, will be tomorrow". Hence Thomas may need to gain more time on him on Friday to secure a comfortable buffer going into Saturday's "race of truth" and ensure his ride to Paris on Sunday's finish is as the Tour victor.

"I imagine we'll be able to finish it off". They had a 16-second lead over another group of 16 riders including Bauke Mollema, Alejandro Valverde and Adam Yates, and the two group quickly built an advantage over for the peloton.

Primoz Roglic celebrates after winning stage 19
Primoz Roglic celebrates after winning stage 19

"The best answer I could give Andre Greipel was to win today", said Demare, who faced similar accusations on his way to victory in Milan-San Remo in 2016. "It was certainly a tough day and it lived up to that".

"The last climb will be down to the legs".

Just days before the event started on July 7, the sport's governing body, the UCI, cleared Froome to pursue his fifth title by closing their doping case against him. Thomas has faced fewer questions relating to Team Sky's reputation and another topic, doping, but on Friday he was asked if the public should have faith in his performances.

Instead, team CEO Iwan Spekenbrink says they approach this year's race as another opportunity to learn the race's intricacies to one day mount an all-out assault for the yellow jersey.

"I can't complain, I could be worse", said Sagan.

"But we have to keep on fighting". Froome responded with a "fuck you".

Kruijswijk attacked off the front of the yellow jersey group but Egan Bernal was climbing like a future tour victor and he reeled in the Dutchman. Luke Rowe who is up there in all the Classics. We ride together really well.

"The energy in the team is really positive because if it wasn't we wouldn't be trying like that". I work super hard.

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