Chris Froome strengthens grip on yellow jersey as Dan Martin stays on course for podium finish

Chris Froome strengthens grip on yellow jersey as Dan Martin stays on course for podium finish

Chris Froome extended his advantage in the yellow jersey with an opportunistic move as Peter Sagan won stage 11 of the Tour de France.

A sprint finish had been expected in Montpellier but howling crosswinds along the 162.5km route from Carcassonne gave Team Sky's Froome a surprise opportunity.

With bonus seconds applied, Froome now leads the general classification by 28 seconds from 23-year-old Briton Adam Yates of Orica-BikeExchange, with Ireland's Dan Martin of Etixx-QuickStep third, 31 seconds down.

World champion Sagan attacked out of the pack with 12km left, and Froome immediately latched on to his wheel as the peloton was distanced.

Sagan had Tinkoff team-mate Maciej Bodnar with him while Geraint Thomas bridged over to support Froome, and together they pulled more than 20 seconds clear.

At the finish, Sagan took the victory ahead of Froome and Bodnar, with the peloton crossing the line seven seconds later.

Mark Cavendish had been hoping for another sprint finish and a shot at a fourth victory of this Tour, but, as Sagan and Froome were attacking up the road, the Manxman suffered a late mechanical problem and was left to roll over the line alone.

It had appeared that sprint finish was on with the peloton all together on the approach to Montpellier, despite a series of splits in the wind throughout the stage.

When the Trek-Segafredo team had put the hammer down with 75km left, the peloton split into five groups, but was all back together 30km out.

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