Chris Froome holds Yellow Jersey after Tour de France 10th stage

Gesink out with fractured vertebra

"We'd be ready for that", said Froome, adding that Sky is "not going to allow anyone to come back on GC". The German has been unbeatable in the sprints so far, claiming four stage wins so far in this Tour.

"I can't really believe it", he said.

He's unlikely to face much opposition from French sprinter Nacer Bouhanni, once touted as a genuine contender for stage wins, but whose torrid Tour reached a new nadir yesterday after he appeared to throw a punch at Kittel's...

"I won now so many stages in the Tour".

Wednesday's route from Eymet to Pau is not one where a rider can make a positive difference, but if he were to be caught out by the wind, he could lose all hope. For others, however, the memory was not all sweet.

Italian Dario Cataldo abandoned with a wrist injury, while his Astana leader Jakob Fuglsang suffered the same problem, but battled to the finish.

Third-ranked Frenchman Romain Bardet hurt his knee slightly, before changing a bike and regrouping himself into the race for not losing time. The Spanish Alberto Contador (elbow) has also fallen at the approach of the last 20 kilometres. The event has been held every September since 1993 in the Pyrenean town of Oloron Sainte-Marie, southwest of Pau - the start of Thursday's Stage 12.

"The last 20km was my best time trial but I'm not happy about today - I can be happy about my legs but not about the result". It was a genuine mistake and I think Fabio was the first to recognize that.

Bodnar, a team-mate of disqualified rider Peter Sagan, admitted he had been hopeful right until the end.

The breakaway trio opened a five-minute gap over the main peloton, but Team QuickStep, Lotto-Soudal, Katusha-Alpecin, Cannondale and Lotto NL-Jumbo moved to the front of the peloton and reduced the lead of the breakaway until they were visible from the peloton with around 25 kilometers remaining.

With 27.5-km remaining and the peloton only 30-seconds behind, Bora-Hansgrohe's Pole Maciej Bodnar dashed away from his breakmates.

He increased his lead in the green points jersey competition, emphasising the possibility of holding it all the way to Paris, although he has a fair way to go to match Zabel's record of six wins in that category.

Another rider to crash today was former victor Alberto Contador of Trek-Segafredo, although the Spaniard - who needs to produce something special in the mountains to reiginite his ambitions of a third victory - remounted and completed the stage.

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