Tour de France: Chris Froome 'ready' for final week of Tour

Chris Froome
Chris Froome currently has a general classification lead of one minute 47 seconds

Race leader Chris Froome says he has never felt so good going into the third week of the Tour de France.

The 31-year-old Briton is looking to win the Tour for a third time after claiming victory in 2013 and 2015.

The yellow jersey wearer is currently one minute 47 seconds ahead of his nearest rival Bauke Mollema.

"Coming into this last week, myself personally I feel more ready for this third week than in previous editions," he said.

"Starting this season later helped that, having a quieter run-in to the Tour helped that. My personal ambition is to be at my best in the third week of this race and I think I'm on track for that."

Wednesday's 17th stage of the Tour sees the riders go 184km from Berne to Finhaut Emosson.

Tour de France stage 17 map
Team Sky rider and BBC columnist Geraint Thomas believes Wednesday's 17th stage will suit Colombian rider Nairo Quintana

Read Geraint Thomas' stage-by stage guide

Froome has disputed suggestions that other riders have been unwilling to challenge the Team Sky rider and his team-mates.

"I think the race has been that hard. People say that the guys didn't attack two stages ago (stage 15) but actually (Fabio) Aru attacked, (Alejandro) Valverde attacked, Romain Bardet attacked - the only guy who didn't was Nairo Quintana.

"I think that's who everyone was waiting for to attack, other people tried and they're going to keep trying."

Colombian Quintana, who is two minutes and 59 seconds behind Froome, praised Team Sky as "really strong".

He added: "Some of his team-mates who are helping him could be leaders in other teams. The main idea is to try to get him on his own."

Fellow British rider Adam Yates, 23, has said he would be willing to attack the lead if the opportunity presented itself.

Yates, currently third in the standings and in possession of the white jersey, said: "Why not? (Froome) looks strong. I can't see him having a bad day, but why not? If he does have a moment's weakness, why not try something?"

Meanwhile, sprinter Mark Cavendish has dropped out of the Tour to aid his preparations for the Olympics in Rio.

General classification after stage 16

1. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) 72hrs 40mins 38secs

2. Bauke Mollema (Ned/Trek) +1mins 47secs

3. Adam Yates (GB/Orica) +2mins 45secs

4. Nairo Quintana (Col/Movistar) +2mins 59secs

5. Alejandro Valverde (Spa/Movistar) +3mins 17secs

6. Romain Bardet (Fra/AG2R) +4mins 04secs

7. Richie Porte (Aus/BMC Racing) +4mins 27secs

8. Tejay van Garderen (US/BMC Racing) +4mins 47secs

9. Daniel Martin (Ire/Etixx - Quick-Step) +5mins 03secs

10. Fabio Aru (Ita/Astana) +5mins 16secs

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