Froome takes another step toward Tour de France crown

Froome takes another step toward Tour de France crown

Michael Matthews won stage 16 of the Tour de France to Romans-sur-Isere as Irish cyclist Dan Martin lost ground on the leaders.

Barguil, who will finish the race as King of the Mountains, pulled away from Darwin Atapuma to win his second stage.

Norway's Alexander Kristoff gets medical assistance after crashing during the 17th stage on Wednesday. Fabio Aru is 53 seconds behind the lead time, Froome's teammate Mikel Landa in fifth is 84 seconds adrift. The team's really struggling today.

Chris Froome succesfully in the yellow jersey but failed to create a wide cusion against his nearest rivals so far. "We had some riders out in the breakaway and they had more than five minutes".

"For me it's just funny, I don't even comment on that stuff - it's bullshit", he said. Aru dropped from second to fourth. Bardet is still third.

"Probably somehow I was really dreaming (about winning a Tour stage), that's why I started cycling. Otherwise it was game over for me".

Roglic's decisive move came with roughly six kilometers to go to the Galibier summit.

"Always when you lose time, it's a loss", sports director Dimitri Fofonov said.

Froome split his two main rivals on the line, with Colombia's Rigoberto Uran second and Frenchman Romain Bardet fourth. Uran was quicker still, beating Froome to get six bonus seconds for second place.

There is no doubt now that Matthews can win the green jersey, which looked an impossible task just a few days ago, although he may rue the missed opportunity a couple of days ago where a gentlemanly act of peeing in private cost him at least 20 points. If either of them want to catch up with Froome in the race for the yellow jersey, the better give their best on stage 18. But that discipline isn't Aru's forte-unlike Froome. He's Peter Sagan, but in the mountains.

While Bardet's repeated bursts of acceleration on the Galibier eventually cracked Aru, they couldn't shake off Froome. I attacked. That's the way I love to race.

"If I had done anything wrong the race officials would have told me".

The battle for the yellow jersey will resume on Wednesday during the first of two Alpine stages in high altitude.

Matthews edged a photo finish ahead of Norway's Edvald Boasson Hagen, already denied by the cameras in stage seven when Kittel won, with John Degenkolb third. It is available also in ITV4 and EuroSport.

Bardet said he was hoping to leave Froome behind, too.

Chris Froome (middle) Tour de France winner 2015.