Geraint Thomas 19 miles from Tour de France title; Chris Froome drops again

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LARUNS, France (AP) — Geraint Thomas increased his hold on the yellow jersey in the final mountain stage of the Tour de France on Friday, while Sky teammate and four-time champion Chris Froome lost his spot on the podium.

Slovenian rider Primoz Roglic won the 125-mile 19th leg through the Pyrenees with an attack on the dangerous descent from the Col d’Aubisque.

A former ski jumper who rides for Team Lotto NL-Jumbo, Roglic finished 19 seconds ahead of Thomas, with Romain Bardet of France crossing third with the same time.

“I had legs today,” Roglic said. “I really tried a lot of times and finally I went away on the descent.”

With the help of a six-second bonus for finishing second in the stage, Thomas increased his lead over Tom Dumoulin to 2 minutes, 5 seconds.

Roglic leapfrogged Froome into third spot overall, 2:24 off the pace, while the British rider now trails by 2:37.

Dumoulin finished sixth in the stage and Froome eighth, both with the same time as Thomas.

One key stage remains — a 19-mile time trial through the Basque country on Saturday (5:50 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold, and 7 a.m., NBCSN) — before the mostly ceremonial finish in Paris on Sunday.

“It’s going to be a tough day tomorrow. I’m really knackered,” Thomas said. “I’m still trying not to get carried away.”

Froome initially fell behind on the climb up the Aubisque before latching back onto the lead group on the descent.

It was Roglic’s second Tour victory, having claimed Stage 17 in the Alps last year.

Roglic, who also excels at time trials, showed courage on a twisty descent made more difficult by clouds and fog hanging over the Aubisque.

When the road allowed, he crouched down on to his bike frame in a risky aerodynamic move known as “super tucking.”

Dumoulin accused the stage winner of ‘drafting’ behind a motorbike.

“Roglic was the strongest today, and a lot of respect for his victory. But he was flying downhill, and eventually I got dropped on a straight part just because he was on his tube and full in the slipstream of the motorbike,” Dumoulin said.

Roglic rejected the accusation.

“I don’t think so,” he said. “I don’t have influence on that. We all have the same possibilities to go the first one down. I didn’t notice anything unusual.”

The route through the pilgrimage town of Lourdes to Laruns took the peloton over three legendary climbs — the Col d’Aspin, the Col du Tourmalet and the Aubisque — before the dive down to the finish.

Mountain classifications leader Julian Alaphilippe was first over the Aspin and Tourmalet as part of an early breakaway.

Mikel Landa and Bardet then attacked from the yellow jersey group up the Tourmalet and joined the leaders before Roglic, Thomas and Dumoulin took over on the final climb.

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TOUR DE FRANCE: StandingsTV Schedule | Riders to Watch

Scotty James wins fifth X Games snowboard halfpipe title

Scotty James
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Scotty James doesn’t have Olympic gold, but he remains king of the X Games halfpipe.

James, the Australian snowboarder who took bronze and silver at the last two Olympics, earned his fifth Aspen gold, repeating as champ of the biggest annual contest under falling snow in the Colorado Rockies. Only the retired Shaun White has more X Games men’s snowboard halfpipe titles with eight.

Nobody on Friday night attempted a triple cork, which was first done in competition by Japan’s Ayumu Hirano last season en route to the Olympic title. Hirano placed sixth Friday.

“It was a tough night, pretty interesting conditions,” James said. “Had to adjust the game plan. The show goes on.”

In a format introduced three years ago, athletes were ranked on overall impression over the course of a three-run jam session for the entire field rather than scoring individual runs.

Earlier, Olympic gold medalist Zoi Sadowski-Synnott of New Zealand repeated as women’s snowboard slopestyle champion, passing Olympic bronze medalist Tess Coady of Australia on the final run of the competition. Sadowski-Synnott, the only snowboarder or skier to win Olympic, world and X Games slopestyle titles, capped her finale with back-to-back 900s.

The competition lacked 2014 and 2018 Olympic champion Jamie Anderson, who announced her pregnancy last month.

Canada’s Megan Oldham landed the first triple cork in women’s ski big air competition history to beat Olympic silver medalist Tess Ledeux of France, according to commentators. Oldham, a 21-year-old ex-gymnast, was fourth at the Olympics.

Eileen Gu, the Olympic champion from China, did not compete but is entered in halfpipe and slopestyle later this weekend.

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Isabeau Levito wins U.S. figure skating title at age 15, followed by comeback stories

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Isabeau Levito won her first U.S. figure skating title at age 15, cementing her status as the new leading American woman to open the new Olympic cycle.

Levito, the world junior champion, tallied 223.33 points between two strong programs in San Jose, California. She distanced two-time U.S. champion Bradie Tennell, who went 19 months between competitions due to foot and ankle injuries in 2021 and 2022 and scored 213.12.

Tennell was just two hundredths behind Levito after Thursday’s short but had multiple jumping errors in the free skate.

Levito followed her as last to go in the free and nailed the most pressure-packed performance of her young career, including the hardest jump combination done of the entire field. She didn’t receive a single negative mark from a judge for her 19 technical elements in her two programs.

Moments later, she was in tears backstage.

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Full Scores | Broadcast Schedule

“I was just so proud of myself for staying so calm and staying so focused, doing exactly what I aimed to do,” Levito, who hasn’t finished off the podium in more than 20 events dating to November 2016, said on NBC. “I’m ready to start bouncing off the walls.”

Amber Glenn, 23, placed third and will likely become the oldest U.S. women’s singles skater to make her world championships debut in at least 45 years. Glenn botched her 11th attempt to join the list of U.S. women to land a clean triple Axel (tally according to Skatingscores.com) but still moved up from fourth after the short program, passing Starr Andrews.

Last year, Glenn entered nationals as the fourth-ranked U.S. woman and a hopeful for the three-woman Olympic team. She placed 14th in the short program, competing unknowingly with COVID-19, then tested positive and withdrew before the free skate.

In 2021, Glenn was the U.S. silver medalist, yet passed over for a spot on the two-woman world team in favor of the more experienced Karen Chen, who finished 35 hundredths behind Glenn at those nationals.

Levito, Tennell and Glenn are expected to make up the team for March’s world championships, decided by a committee.

Gracie Gold, a two-time U.S. champion who was fifth after the short program, popped a pair of planned triple Lutzes and dropped to eighth.

None of the three 2022 U.S. Olympians competed. Alysa Liu and Mariah Bell retired. Chen is a student at Cornell and might not return.

Nationals continue Saturday with the free dance and pairs’ free skate, live on NBC Sports and Peacock.

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