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Tour de France: Title is 'mine to lose', says defending champion Chris Froome ahead of decisive time trial

Tour de France: Title is 'mine to lose', says defending champion Chris Froome ahead of decisive time trial

Saturday`s individual time trial -- a discipline at which the 32-year-old Froome usually excels -- around the streets of Marseille should be routine for the Team Sky rider.

Tour de France: Chris Froome relieved to pass final Alpine test as victory looms

Tour de France: Chris Froome relieved to pass final Alpine test as victory looms

With a relatively straightforward ride towards the Mediterranean on Friday and a time-trial in Marseille on Saturday, only something quite extraordinary can now prevent another celebratory ride into Paris for Froome on Sunday.

Tour de France: Chris Froome in control as Fabio Aru slips down the rankings

Tour de France: Chris Froome in control as Fabio Aru slips down the rankings

The defending champion was attacked by last year`s runner-up Romain Bardet and Ireland`s Dan Martin in the lung-busting ascent to the Col du Galibier but he stayed calm and covered every offensive move.

Tour de France will be decided on Izoard climb: Greg LeMond

Chris Froome leads Italian Fabio Aru by 18 seconds and France`s Romain Bardet by 23, with Colombian Rigoberto Uran in fourth place, 29 seconds off the pace.

Tour de France: Chris Froome's failure on final slope sets stage for thrilling finale

Tour de France: Chris Froome's failure on final slope sets stage for thrilling finale

Briton Froome, who hammered the opposition in the first big mountain stages in 2013, 2015 and 2016 -- the years he won the title -- could not match the pace of the top guns in the finale in Peyragudes, surrendering the yellow jersey to Italian Fabio Aru.

WATCH: Richie Porte, Dan Martin involve in one of the most horrific crashes in Tour de France history

WATCH: Richie Porte, Dan Martin involve in one of the most horrific crashes in Tour de France history

The ninth stage was won by Cannondale-Drapac rider Rigo Uran, who beat Warren Barguil into second place. Froome finished third to maintain his challenge for the overall victory.

Tour de France 2017: Sunday's ninth stage in the Jura mountains will be decisive, says Chris Froome

Tour de France 2017: Sunday's ninth stage in the Jura mountains will be decisive, says Chris Froome

The Team Sky rider leads team mate and fellow Briton Geraint Thomas by 12 seconds with Fabio Aru, who made quite an impression when he prevailed in the first summit finish on Wednesday, in third place 14 seconds off the pace.

Sports court CAS rejects Peter Sagan's appeal of Tour de France disqualification

Sports court CAS rejects Peter Sagan's appeal of Tour de France disqualification

Sagan, the current world champion and a member of Germany`s Bora-Hansgrohe team, said that he did not cause the crash.

104th Tour de France: Fabio Aru wins maiden stage win as defending champion Chris Froome snathces yellow jersey

104th Tour de France: Fabio Aru wins maiden stage win as defending champion Chris Froome snathces yellow jersey

Italian champion Aru launched a blistering attack in the final stretches of the fifth stage, jumping away from the leading group with 2.3km left of the 5.9km climb at a lung-busting average gradient of 8.5 per cent.

Chinese revolution in the making: Tour de France sets wheels in motion for 450 million cycle owners

Chinese revolution in the making: Tour de France sets wheels in motion for 450 million cycle owners

This week ASO announced the first Tour de France China Criterium will take place in October with 60 of the world`s top riders racing around a 3km closed road circuit in Shanghai.

Lance Armstrong to face jury trial in $100 million lawsuit filed by US government

Lance Armstrong to face jury trial in $100 million lawsuit filed by US government

US govt. has accused Armstrong of defrauding the government by accepting millions of dollars in sponsorship money from the U.S. Postal Service.

British cycling legend Bradley Wiggins bows out

The 36-year-old who won the 2012 Tour bows out with eight Olympic medals, including five golds, and seven world titles, across track and road cycling.

Tour de France 2016: After third title, Chris Froome focuses on Rio Olympics 2016

Tour de France 2016: After third title, Chris Froome focuses on Rio Olympics 2016

Froome, whom many believe could have won that 2012 Tour had he not been riding for, rather than against, Wiggins has never enjoyed the same place in the British fans` affections as his maverick compatriot.

Unlikely sporting star Chris Froome wins third Tour de France, seals place amongst greats

Unlikely sporting star Chris Froome wins third Tour de France, seals place amongst greats

Froome, who was also champion in 2013 and last year, finished ahead of Frenchman Romain Bardet in second and Nairo Quintana of Colombia in third.

Tour de France 2016: Chris Froome on brink of 3rd title as Ion Izaguirre wins penultimate stage

Tour de France 2016: Chris Froome on brink of 3rd title as Ion Izaguirre wins penultimate stage

But with only Sunday`s virtual procession into Paris to come, the Tour is all but over.

Tour de France: Chris Froome extends lead despite crash as Romain Bardet wins stage

Tour de France: Chris Froome extends lead despite crash as Romain Bardet wins stage

Bardet finished 23sec ahead of Joaquim Rodriguez after attacking on a slippery and dangerous descent where several of his rivals crashed.

Tour de France 2016: Chris Froome tightens grip on yellow as Nairo Quintana cracks

Tour de France 2016: Chris Froome tightens grip on yellow as Nairo Quintana cracks

Quintana, who was the first to respond to Porte`s attack and then Froome`s counter, cracked badly and lost 28sec to the race leader.

Cycling: Tour stage win a `relief` for Marcel​ Kittel

Cycling: Tour stage win a `relief` for Marcel​ Kittel

Kittel was the dominant sprinter in the world through 2013 and 2014, winning four stages at the Tour in each year.

Tour de France 2016: Normandy to witness stage one of world's greatest cycling race in its 103rd edition

Tour de France 2016: Normandy to witness stage one of world's greatest cycling race in its 103rd edition

The 103rd edition of Tour de France starts Saturday with close to 200 riders from as many as 22 teams fighting for the ultimate prize in cycling.

France to extend state of emergency until July

France seeks to extend the state of emergency that has been in place since the Paris attacks to cover the period of the Euro 2016 football championship and the Tour de France.