Alaphilippe wins protest-hit stage, Thomas keeps Tour lead

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Quintana said: "I'm happy for the win". I'm not sure they'd have liked their football players being spat at in Russian Federation (at the World Cup). I'm sad for Yates who crashed but it could have happened to me.

Team Sky were the only team not in the move, meaning Egan Arley Bernal's chances of winning the white jersey - which he has admitted he is not targeting - are now slim.

Ahead of stage 17 today, described as the most decisive stage in the final week, Welshman Thomas maintained his 1-minute, 39-second lead on four-time champion Froome.

"We are not going to lock the riders in a stadium or a tennis court", Tour director Christian Prudhomme said. Leave the road to the riders, respect them.

Alaphillipe took the lead when Adam Yates crashed on a technical descent in the finale.

The small group of farmers from the Ariege department were protesting the reduction of European Union funding, French media reported. It was the same descent where Italian rider Fabio Casartelli died during the 1995 Tour.

"As soon as you get carried away, it's when it goes downhill", the two-time Olympic track champion said. Though he rode to the finish, collecting the day's combativity award with blood still seeping through his bandages on the podium, the Quick-Step Floors rider then announced his Tour was over.

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MARSIS's wavelength is over 300 feet and can penetrate deeper, whereas SHARAD's is 50 feet and scours closer to the surface . With such encouraging results now published , those involved with the hunt are sure to be emboldened.

Alaphilippe's excellent descending soon saw him pull out a big gap, and the current polka dot jersey holder stormed to his second stage win of this year's race.

With the roads still slightly damp from an earlier brief downpour, Yates' wheels slipped from beneath him and he never quite regained his confidence and composure as his 25-second lead evaporated.

"I didn't want him to have a bad day like he did but it just gave me confidence knowing someone of Froomey's stature was struggling, and I just knew I would be able to respond to the attacks".

"Morale's pretty damaged right now. We came here with a great team although things did not play out the way we expected".

Thomas crossed the line third on the Col du Portet in the Pyrenees behind stage-winner Nairo Quintana and Dan Martin, but jumped clear of general-classification rivals Tom Dumoulin and Primoz Roglic in the closing metres of a devastating climb to claim a handful of bonus seconds.

"Thomas was stronger than I was and I have to deal with that", he said. We can't recon all of these stages and you don't know what's coming up on some of these corners, but it must have been a bit damp and I came down and that's all there is to it. "There's definitely going to be some splits".

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