Team Sky's Chris Froome on the verge of fourth Tour de France win
Last Updated: 23/07/17 6:22pm
Chris Froome finished third in Saturday's time trial to virtually secure his fourth Tour de France victory.
The stage was won by Maciej Bodnar (Bora-Hansgrohe), with Team Sky's Michal Kwiatkowski just one second behind him, in second place. Sky's Chris Froome was next, ahead of all his rivals in the race for overall victory.
Only the largely ceremonial stage into Paris stands between Froome and his fourth triumph in five years, as his lead grew to 54 seconds over former team-mate Rigoberto Uran.
Froome said: "It's an amazing feeling to finish that off now. There was a lot of pressure coming into today's stage with it being so close in the general classification (GC) but there was an amazing atmosphere here. It's a fitting way to stay in the GC, which was always going to be a close battle."
There was heartbreak for France as Romain Bardet, who went into today's stage in second place behind Froome, was ill and lost so much time Froome almost overtook him as they entered the Stade Velodrome in Marseille. Barde finished more than two minutes behind Bodnar.
Colombian rider Uran moved into second place, with Bardet now in third place overall.
The 22.5km time trial through Marseille was the penultimate stage of this year's Tour de France. The final day's stage tomorrow towards the Champs Elysees, in Paris, is largely ceremonial for the General Classification, of which the yellow jersey is the winner. The day will be an opportunity for sprinters to battle it out for the final stage victory in this year's race.
Froome, who was booed and whistled by fans at the Stade Velodrome when he went down the starting ramp, goes into the final stage with the narrowest margin of victory in his four Tour de France wins to date. The second nearest was in 2015, where he won from Nairo Quintana with just 72 seconds.
It was a hot, technical stage race through Marseille. Quintana struggled to make waves in this year's Tour after tackling the Giro D'Italia earlier this year.
The stage win will be a comfort for Bora-Hansgrohe, whose star rider, Peter Sagan, was disqualified in the first week of this year's race.
Stage winner Bodnar said: "I'm very happy. It was amazing, a really nice atmosphere here. I can't believe it. I was feeling good today, then I was waiting for Froome's time because he is very good in time trials."
Looking pale and utterly exhausted, French rider Bardet said he woke up feeling ill before the time trial where he managed to stay on the Tour de France podium by the narrowest margin.
Bardet will finish the Tour in third place, just one second ahead of Mikel Landa of Spain. Bardet had been second overall before the clock race, with an advantage of more than one minute over Landa. But the French rider toiled in the heat on the twisting and technical time-trial course.
He said he "was in poor health and I paid for it, in cash, and felt that his immune system reacted after the last stage in the high Alps: "I didn't feel well this morning."
Froome said: "Landa has shown he's capable of being on this Tour de France podium and I imagine that will give him more motivation for the future."
Team Sunweb's Warren Barguil, in the polka dot jersey of the mountains classification winner, was awarded the "super combativity" prize for the most aggressive rider in this year's race.
His teammate, Michael Matthews, has all but won the green jersey of the points competition - so long as he stays on the bike, he will win the points competition overall.
British rider Simon Yates (Orica-Scott) will win the young rider competition.
Stage 20 result
1. Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 28m 15s
2. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky +1sec
3. Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky +6secs
4. Tony Martin (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin +14secs
5. Daryl Impey (SA) Orica-Scott +20secs
6. Alberto Contador (Spa) Trek-Segafredo +21secs
7. Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Sunweb +28secs
8. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac +31secs
9. Stefan Kung (Swi) BMC +34secs
10. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Direct Energie +37secs
1. Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky 83:55:16"
2. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac +54"
3. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale +2:20"
4. Mikel Landa (Spa/Team Sky) +2:21"
5. Fabio Aru (Ita/Astana) +3:05"
6. Dan Martin (Ire/Quick-Step Floors) +4:42"
7. Simon Yates (GB/Orica-Scott) +6:14"
8. Louis Meintjes (SA/Team UAE Emirates) +8:20"
9. Alberto Contador (Spa/Trek-Segafredo) +8:49"
10. Warren Barguil (Fra/Team Sunweb) +9:25"