Tour de France 2016: Stage 18 Results, General Classification and Highlights

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistJuly 21, 2016

Britain's Chris Froome, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, celebrates on the podium after the eighteenth stage of the Tour de France cycling race, an individual time trial over 17 kilometers (10.6 miles) with start in Sallanches and finish in Megeve, France, Thursday, July 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Peter Dejong/Associated Press

Chris Froome remained on course for a third Tour de France title on Thursday after storming to victory at Stage 18, where he finished 21 seconds faster than Tom Dumoulin in the second time trial.

Dumoulin made a terrific run of 31 minutes and four seconds through the 17-kilometre, uphill journey from Sallanches to Megeve, but Froome's late dart at the end of the day snatched victory from his grasp.

The result means Froome maintains his place at the summit of the general classification and is now one step closer to retaining his Tour de France title in Paris.

The official Tour de France Twitter account provided a more expansive look at Thursday's time-trial result, where Italy's Fabio Aru and Australian Richie Porte finished joint-third:

Nairo Quintana finished 10th in the time trial after clocking a time of 31 minutes and 53 seconds, just behind South Africa's Louis Meintjes, who is clinging to his place in the general classification's top 10.

Aru, Porte and Romain Bardet were the only other riders currently in the top 10 of the general classification who also managed to finish in the top 10 of Thursday's time trial, as depicted by Sky Cycling:

Froome's chances of triumphing in Stage 18 looked slim after Dumoulin blazed through the route in little more than half an hour. But Tour triumphs are built on unique runs, and the Briton's was precisely that.

Dutch ace Dumoulin spoke to Sky Sports after the result and was eager to point to his weightiness as one major factor in the final result:

He [Froome] is a bit lighter than me I guess but I need to lose some weight in the future so I can really compete in the grand tours. 

So far my climbing abilities are not good enough to really compete for the podium but it's getting close to competing for the podium at the Tour de France so I need to make another step.

There's also a difference between going full gas every day for three weeks and me taking back some time yesterday, so I’m think I need to make another step, but it's looking very promising.

Nonetheless, with 21 seconds between the top two, there was hardly much Froome's opponents could say about such a mesmerising display, particularly following his superb pickup in speed after the 10-kilometre mark.

The Tour captured the moment Froome pedalled into Megeve with the yellow jersey still his to lose—and only three stages now remaining:

Stage 18 provided its participants with a test of their nerves hurtling down some slick descents, but Froome didn't let that sense of fear affect his average speed, per Le Tour Data:

Friday's Stage 19 will be a more arduous task for each rider set to make the 146-kilometre trip from Albertville to Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc.

The penultimate mountain stage will be one of Froome and Team Sky's final challenges before he can really start to feel safe about his third Tour title as the 2016 competition enters its final stretch.  

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