Colombian rider Nairo Quintana did try to make several attempts to make a mark at Stage 17 of the Tour de France 2015, but beating General Classification leader Chris Froome is something he has to try very hard to achieve, with just four more stages to go.

The 2013 TDF champion still maintains the highest level of consistency in the GC tally as he leads the second-placed Quintana by a margin of 3 minutes and 10 seconds.

Team Giant's Simon Geschke meanwhile broke free ahead of American Andrew Talansky by a 32-second margin to complete the 161km stretch of the race yesterday from Digne-les-Bains to the finishing climb of Pra Loup in the Alps.

The German claimed his first TDF stage victory by breaking free with 50km left and pulled away on the category-one climb up Col d'Allos, which was one of the toughest classified climbs of the stage.

"It's incredible to win a stage of the Tour de France. I've been dreaming about it since I started cycling. But it wasn't easy. I'm not a sprinter, I'm not a climber, I'm just an all rounder. I got selected by the team to help in the first week and take my chance in the second or third week," Geschke said.

"Nobody expected me to be the first stage winner of the team. The downhill was really challenging but it's part of cycling. I was at the limit at the top of the climb. In every curve, I paid attention and it went well."

One of the more tragic news yesterday was the withdrawal of major American contender Tejay van Garderen. A sudden illness forced him out of the contention and it was a sad end to his campaign.

Team BMC doctor Max Testa described the illness as a respiratory infection.

Van Garderen was third, just over three minutes behind leader Chris Froome, in the GC tally, and he was poised for a podium finish in Paris. 

Meanwhile, Britain's Froome lauded the efforts of his rival Quintana and stated that the Colombian is "running out of opportunites" to get past him.

"Quintana is still pushing me and testing me. He's running out of opportunities," said Froome, who shared a handshake with his rival at the finish.

"There's only three more stages left to race. They're really tough stages. [I am] Definitely getting the feeling it's an all or nothing approach at this stage in the race," he added.

The 186.5km Stage 18 of TDF 2015 is slated to be one more tough day for the riders, as the stretch of race to Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne includes seven categorised climbs - from the Col Bayard to the Col du Glandon, and Lacets de Montvernier.

"This should be a day for the breakaway to succeed. I don't think a lot will be happening in terms of the yellow jersey because everybody will be keeping an eye on each other before the final two days in the mountains," said Team Sky's Geraint Thomas to BBC Sport.


In India, the Tour de France Stage 18 can be watched live on Ten Sports (7pm IST), with the option of live streaming on

Viewers in the UK can catch it on Eurosport and ITV4, with programmes starting at 1:45pm BST.

Highlights: Eurosport2 from 6pm to 7pm and from 9pm to 10:30pm; ITV4 from 7pm to 8pm;S4C from 10pm.

Live TV: British Eurosport, ITV4, S4C

Viewers in the US can catch it on NBC from 8am ET - broadcasting four to five hours of live coverage every stage on its NBC Sports channel.

NBC Sports will also air a slightly compressed three-hour broadcast of each stage in primetime, starting at 8pm ET each night.