Chris Froome took another step towards Tour de France victory on Wednesday after winning stage 17’s time trial.
Heading in the 32 kilometre time trial from Embrun to Chorges Froome held a four minute and 14 second advantage over Dutch Rider Bauke Mollema.
Mollema’s ride was far from plain sailing (at one point he crashed into a barrier) and eventually saw his overall title hopes suffer a major blow when he finished the day 11th to drop from second to fourth overall.
Two-time champion Alberto Contador took full advantage.
Third from last to go Contador blasted out of the blocks and maintained his pace to cross the line and put him top of the provisional time sheets.
The Spaniard then had a nervous wait as Froome tackled the course.
Worried about the weather and the risks of riding in the rain Froome made the decision to change bikes at the summit of the second of the two climbs of the day.
A change that paid off as.
Despite being 11 seconds down on Contador with 12 kilometres remaining the Team Sky rider powered home to beat his rival’s time and claim his third victory of the 100th edition of the race.
Froome completed the course in 51 minutes and 33 seconds, Contador had to settle for second while Katusha rider Joaquim Rodriguez of Spain completed the stage 17 podium.
Heading into stage 18, Froome is four minutes and 34 seconds clear of Contador who moved up to second while Czech Roman Kreuziger is now third 17 seconds further back.