Tour de France: Nairo Quintana wins stage as Geraint Thomas extends lead

Nairo Quintana celebrates in the mist as he crosses the line to win the 17th stage of the Tour de France. JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty Images

Nairo Quintana of Team MoviStar won Stage 17 of the Tour de France as overall leader Geraint Thomas gained more time on his yellow jersey rivals.

Quintana took control during the final 16-kilometer climb Wednesday to Saint-Lary-Soulan in the Pyrenees mountains and was a comfortable winner. It was the Colombian's first stage win of this year's Tour.

Dan Martin finished second and Thomas finished third, pulling ahead of Tom Dumoulin, Primoz Roglic and Team Sky teammate Chris Froome in the final kilometer.

Thomas now commands a lead of 2 minutes, 30 seconds over Froome, the 2017 Tour de France winner, with only four stages to go.

At just 65 km, Stage 17 in the Pyrenees was the shortest Tour stage this century but featured three serious, category one climbs.

After the Formula 1-style grid start in Bagneres-de-Luchon, which saw overall leader Thomas line up directly ahead of Froome and Dumoulin, it was Estonian rider Tanel Kangert who led the breakaway.

Kangert was reeled in by King of the Mountain leader Julian Alaphilippe in the first climb of the day to Montée de Peyragudes but held on to reach the top ahead of the Frenchman.

The positions switched as they reached the top of Col de Val Louron-Azet, the second climb of the day, with Alaphilippe taking maximum KoM points.

The pair were together as they reached the end of the second decent and were 2:30 ahead of the peleton, but after winning Stage 16 the day before, Alaphillipe ran out of legs and was dropped by Kangert entering the final 16-km climb.

Back in the peleton, Quintana, who started the day eighth in general classification, attacked on the climb and was able to catch up with MoviStar teammate Alejandro Valverde. Roglic tried to attack behind Quintana but was reeled back into the peleton by Thomas' teammate Froome.

Kangert was caught by Quintana with 8 km of climb to go, while the overall lead to the peleton was cut to just over a minute. Martin, of Ireland, was in pursuit of Quintana at the front, while the pace of the peleton quickened with 5 km remaining.

With 2.5 km to go, Roglic attacked for the second time but was quickly shut down by Thomas. Dumoulin attacked next, but was again followed by Thomas. Froome, however, fell away.

Quintana crossed the line on his own, followed by Martin, but it was Thomas who impressed again, reacting brilliantly to each attack on a tough final climb to extend his commanding overall lead to almost two minutes.

Stage winners

1. Nairo Quintana (COL) Movistar Team 2:21:28

2. Daniel Martin (IRL) UAE Team Emirates +28

3. Geraint Thomas (GBR) Team Sky +47

4. Primož Roglic (SLO) Team LottoNL - Jumbo +52

5. Tom Dumoulin (NED) Team Sunweb "

Overall leaders

1. Geraint Thomas (GBR) Team Sky 70:34:11

2. Tom Dumoulin (NED) Team Sunweb +1:59

3. Chris Froome (GBR) Team Sky +2:31

4. Primož Roglic (SLO) Team LottoNL - Jumbo +2:47

5. Nairo Quintana (COL) Movistar Team +3:30