/ Cycling

Chris Froome on brink of Tour de France victory as Quintana takes penultimate stage win

Updated: Saturday, 20 Jul 2013 21:38 | Comments

Nairo Quintana proved too strong for Chris Froome and Joaquin Rodriguez in the final kilometres of Saturday's stage Riders make their way around Lake Annecy at the start of stage 20, a 125km road stage from Annecy to Annecy-Semnoz
Nairo Quintana proved too strong for Chris Froome and Joaquin Rodriguez in the final kilometres of Saturday's stage Riders make their way around Lake Annecy at the start of stage 20, a 125km road stage from Annecy to Annecy-Semnoz

Chris Froome looks set to win the Tour de France after finishing third in the penultimate stage of this year's race.

The yellow jersey holder remains more than five minutes clear of nearest challenger Nairo Quintana going into Sunday's procession to Paris.

Colombian Quintana broke clear from Froome and third placed Joaquin Rodriguez in the final kilometres of this afternoon's finish in Semoz to take the stage and cement his place on Sunday's podium.

Rodriguez also looks set to secure his podium place after dropping Froome in the final run in to remain in third place on the General Classification, more than one minute clear of fourth-placed Alberto Contador.

Nicolas Roche finished 25th in today's stage, 5min 58seconds behind Quintana, while Dan Martin was 97th, over 18 minutes behind the stage winner.

Martin is 33rd overall, while Roche is in 41st place ahead of Sunday's final stage.

It was a first stage win for Quintana, who is riding in his maiden Tour. He also has the white jersey for the best Under-25 rider and the polka-dot one for the mountain classification.

Slovakian Peter Sagan just has to finish the Tour to retained the green jersey for the points classification.

Former Tour winner Alberto Contador, who started the stage second overall, cracked on the final climb and had no answer when Rodriguez, Quintana and Froome sped away to fight out the stage win between them.

Spain's Contador, dripping with sweat, crossed the line over two minutes behind Froome and dropped down to fourth in the standings, 7:10 behind the Briton.

"I can't quite believe that I am in this position," Froome said.

"This really is amazing. I am a bit lost for words. I still have to roll into Paris on Sunday but this is it, the general classification is sorted out now, and to finish it off like this is really special.

"It was quite hard to stay on top of it with three kilometres to go, when it sank in that I had achieved what I needed to.

"I couldn't follow the wheels of the others because I was so overwhelmed by the feeling that I had done it."

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