French sprint specialist Arnaud Demare won the 18th stage of the Tour de France on Thursday.
Demare held off Cofidis rival and compatriot Christophe Laporte in the sprint.
Britain’s Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) stayed out of trouble in 30°C heat along the 171km route from Trie-sur-Baïse to maintain his one minute 59 second lead over Dutchman Tom Dumoulin in the general classification.
Defending champion Chris Froome is two minutes 31 seconds behind teammate Thomas.
There is just one mountain stage (Friday), one time-trial (Saturday) and one procession into Paris (Sunday) to go.
Stage 18 result:
1. Arnaud Demare (Fra/Groupama-FDJ) 3hrs 46mins 40secs
2. Christophe Laporte (Fra/Cofidis) Same time
3. Alexander Kristoff (Nor/UAE Team Emirates)
4. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor/Dimension Data)
5. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita/Bahrain-Merida)
6. Mximiliano Richeze (Arg/Quick-Step Floors)
7. John Degenkolb (Ger/Trek-Segafredo)
8. Peter Sagan (Svk/Bora-Hansgrohe)
9. Taylor Phinney (US/Team EF Education First-Drapac P/B Cannondale)
10. Timothy Dupont (Bel/Wanty-Groupe Gobert)
General classification after stage 18:
1. Geraint Thomas (GB/Team Sky) 74hrs 21mins 1sec
2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned/Team Sunweb) +1min 59secs
3. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) +2mins 31secs
4. Primoz Roglic (Slo/Team LottoNL-Jumbo) +2mins 47secs
5. Nairo Quintana (Col/Movistar Team) +3mins 30secs
6. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned/Team LottoNL–Jumbo) +4mins 19secs
7. Mikel Landa (Spa/Movistar) +4mins 34secs
8. Romain Bardet (Fra/AG2R La Mondiale) +5mins 13secs
9. Daniel Martin (Ire/UAE Team Emirates) +6mins 33secs
10. Jakob Fuglsang (Den/Astana) +9mins 31secs
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