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Thursday 8 December 2016

Froome warns: I'm getting stronger

Chris Froome has sent an ominous message to the rivals bidding to snatch the Tour de France leader's yellow jersey off him, saying: "I'm getting stronger".

The Team Sky leader has a 12-second advantage over Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) after nine stages of the Tour, with his other major contenders trailing by at least one minute.

Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) is 1m 3s back, Nairo Quintana (Movistar) 1min 59secs adrift and defending champion Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) 2:22 behind.

Asked about his position ahead of today's first Pyrenees stage, Froome compared himself favourably to his condition in 2013, when he won the 100th Tour.

"This year I feel as if I've come in much fresher, a lot more mentally prepared and I feel as if I'm getting stronger in this year's race," he said.

Meanwhile, Former Giro d'Italia winner Ivan Basso withdrew from the Tour after revealing he has testicular cancer.

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