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Tour: Froome Unchallenged on Tricky Descent; Izagirre Nabs Stage

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Ion Izagirre took the first Spanish win of the Tour.

Le Tour de France 2016 - Stage Twenty Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

Chris Froome sealed his third Tour de France in the town of Morzine after another day of assured control, or business as normal, from Team Sky. The only person to really make an assault on the GC was Tinkoff's Roman Kreuziger, who went into the early break before the day's first climb, along with his team mate Peter Sagan. Sagan was invaluable to Kreuziger on the flat parts of the course, pulling the break along so that Kreuziger looked like he had a genuine chance of challenging for the podium. This scared AG2R and Orica into riding hard to protect Romain Bardet and Adam Yates' GC positions, and bringing the break's advantage to a more manageable distance.

Manageable it may have been, but it was still big enough for them to challenge for stage victory, as Julian Alaphilippe and Jarlinson Pantano realised, descending the Col de la Ramaz to get a large time gap over their companions at the start of the final climb. They immediately stopped working together at the bottom of the ascent, as Alaphilippe attacked Pantano twice, with the Colombian always grinding back, and once returning the favour. They were soon met with a bigger problem however — that of Vincenzo Nibali, who worked his way up to the duo and soon attacked them. He would soon be caught by Pantano, and Ion Izagirre, who silently arrived behind to catch Nibali just before the top of the climb.

Behind, Fabio Aru was dropped almost immediately on the early part of the Joux Plane, perhaps suffering from hunger knock as he dropped back, surrounded by a cluster of concerned Astana domestiques who would see him lose minutes, his top ten place, and probably get him a letter from Vino. Bauke Mollema, who had suffered on the early climbs, put in an attack that reeked of desperation, and sure enough he was caught and dropped by the next move, one by Joaquím Rodríguez, and then was shelled out the back of the Geraint Thomas-led peloton. Rodríguez though, was a far different proposition, and he was the only man to escape from the peloton on the final climb of the Tour, summiting the climb half a minute ahead of the yellow jersey.

The descent was fast and dangerous, and Pantano was the first to suffer on its steep gradients, going offroad on one of the first corners. Nibali, usually such a skilled descender, had an even worse day out, and he fell even further off the pace. Once Izagirre got his gap he never let go of it, and rode into Morzine nineteen seconds ahead of Pantano. Nibali followed forty-two seconds behind the Basque man, with Alaphilippe just behind. Kreuziger was rewarded for his efforts with a sixth place and tenth on GC.

LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

The yellow jersey group didn't put much effort into chasing Rodríguez, and his aggression was rewarded with a huge jump in GC to seventh place. Chris Froome took no risks on the way down the Joux Plane, and Thomas continued to lead the group. Daniel Martin sprinted home to lead the group in, but he couldn't move up in GC. Chris Froome made no effort to prevent a gap from forming, and smiled as he rode home a few seconds behind the Irishman, taking yet another Tour de France.

Stage Results:
1. ESP Ion Izagirre MOV 4:06:45
2. COL Jarlinson Pantano IAM 0:19
3. ITA Vincenzo Nibali AST 0:42
4. FRA Julian Alaphilippe EQS 0:49
5. POR Ruí Costa LAM 1:43
6. CZE Roman Kreuziger TNK 1:44
7. NED Wilco Kelderman TLJ 0:49
8. ESP Joaquím Rodríguez KAT 3:24
9. IRE Daniel Martin EQS 4:12
10. FRA Romain Bardet ALM "
General Classification:
1. GBR Chris Froome SKY 84:21:40
2. FRA Romain Bardet ALM 4:05
3. COL Nairo Quintana MOV 4:21
4. GBR Adam Yates OBE 4:42
5. AUS Richie Porte BMC 5:17
6. ESP Alejandro Valverde MOV 6:16
7. ESP Joaquím Rodríguez KAT 6:58
8. RSA Louis Meintjes LAM "
9. IRE Daniel Martin EQS 7:04
10. CZE Roman Kreuziger TNK 7:11