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Tour leader Froome wins Stage 17

Chorges, France (Sports Network) - Britain's Chris Froome won Stage 17 of the Tour de France on Wednesday, increasing his overall lead in cycling's most prestigious event.

The 32-kilometer time trial from Embrun to Chorges featured a pair of Category 2 climbs and Froome finished the course in 51 minutes and 33 seconds. He now owns a 4:34 advantage over the second-place rider, who has changed.

Two-time Tour champion Alberto Contador began the day third, but leapfrogged Dutchman Bauke Mollema after finishing with the stage's second-best time. Mollema fell two spots to fourth after crossing the line 2:09 behind the pace set by Froome. Czech Roman Kreuziger moved from fourth to third in the general classification.

Contador led at every checkpoint throughout the stage. Froome was two seconds behind the Spaniard's time following the ascent of the Cote de Puy-Sanieres. He trailed Contador by 20 seconds at the second checkpoint, but was able to close the gap by nine seconds after climbing the Cote de Reallon and wound up beating his main rival by the same time.

"It's going to be a race all the way to Paris," Froome said. "Even though I've got quite a good buffer of over four minutes, I still feel like that's being challenged every day and especially now as these next three days are going to be the hardest of the Tour so far."

Stage 18 on Thursday is a 172.5-kilometer trek that begins in Gap and concludes at the summit of the Alpe d'Huez, which for the first time in Tour history will be climbed twice on the same day.

07/17 12:54:04 ET

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