Tour de France: Defending champion mistaken for fan and tackled by police

Tour de France: Defending champion mistaken for fan and tackled by police

But his day went from bad to worse when he was forced off his bike by a police officer who had mistaken him for a fan.

He tried to get Froome to stop and in the confusion the six-time Grand Tour champion crashed.

He was then seen to gesticulate towards the office before shouting "f**k you".

Among them was polka dot jersey wearer Julian Alaphilippe, Adam Yates and Damien Gaudin, who won the day's intermediate sprint, but contained none of Thomas's general classification rivals.

Froome also had to deal with the pressure of an asthma drug case over the last nine months.

It was Roglic's second Tour victory, having claimed Stage 17 in the Alps past year.

British cyclist Chris Froome was apprehended during the Tour de France on Thursday after a French policeman mistook both him and his bodyguard for a pair of fans.

"It's going to be a tough day tomorrow".

There was no room for support vehicles at the summit, meaning competitors who had already finished had to pass back-markers who had yet to finish the course. In recent head-to-head clashes between the two, Dumoulin has shown himself capable of taking nearly two seconds per kilometre out of Thomas in the discipline, suggesting Thomas needs a cushion of at least a minute to feel secure.

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Froome was not injured in the incident and rode away from the scene.

Team Sky has employed a personal bodyguard for Froome and additional security, while the Tour has employed extra security in the wake of recent terror attacks in France. But again Froome was unable to go with the accelerations.

"G has ridden such an wonderful race and he deserves to be in yellow - and, fingers crossed, he holds it now until Paris", said Froome.

Demare finished 147th on Tuesday and 145th on Wednesday, losing more than an hour to Thomas and the race leaders, before grabbing his second career Tour stage win Thursday.

Team Sky controlled the pace as several riders attacked in the Montee de Peyragudes, a 14.9-km ascent at an average gradient of 6.7 per cent.

Gilbert was forced to withdraw from the Tour on Tuesday after a spectacular crash into a ravine on stage 16.

After watching that stage, Greipel, who was one of many fast men to be sent home for missing the time cut in the Alps, tweeted: "Maybe someone should tell @GroupamaFDJ and @ArnaudDemare that there is Global Positioning System tracking in @LeTour".

With Froome conceding he has little chance of winning after falling further behind on Wednesday, that tension may ease a little.

Yesterday morning, Greipel wrote: "My apology go out to @ArnaudDemare and @GroupamaFDJ as I have had not the right to make that tweet based on Global Positioning System time, which can be wrong, plus I got the incorrect times he lost on the last hill". "But when I got back to the hotel and was showed the pictures it was obviously something else". "G has ridden such an unbelievable race and he deserves to be in yellow - and, fingers crossed, he holds it now until Paris". Rallying as hard as he could was not enough to prevent the concession of 48 seconds and he conceded that Thomas is now confirmed as the man to take the jersey to Paris, with Froome telling Velonews: "It was a very intense day but I've got no regrets", Froome said after finishing almost a minute down on his team-mate. "It didn't feel like a grab, but like a hit", Thomas said prior to the start of stage 18 from Trie-sur-Baise to Pau.

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