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Quintana running out of strength

© AFP/File / by Barnaby CHESTERMAN | Colombia's Nairo Quintana admits to having a lack of energy at this year's Tour de France, saying "We'll keep going in this Tour and we'll see how we feel"

CHAMBÉRY (FRANCE) (AFP) - 

Nairo Quintana admitted he is running short on fuel after losing more than a minute to race leader Chris Froome on Sunday's brutal mountain Tour de France stage.

Quintana started the day ninth overall at 53sec behind the reigning champion and although he's moved up a place, he's now 2:13 adrift after finishing the stage in 10th, 1min 15sec behind winner Rigoberto Uran.

The Colombian climber came into the Tour with high hopes having changed his preparation this year.

His Movistar team believes he rides better in a second Grand Tour of the year than his first, meaning he did May's Giro d'Italia, where he finished second, rather than aiming for the Vuelta a Espana, which starts next month, after the Tour.

But the consequence has been a lack of energy, and Quintana admitted it may have been a mistake.

"We gave up more time, I'm starting to lack strength having already put in a huge effort this year (at the Giro)," said the 27-year-old.

"We're lacking strength this year, we fought as much as we could.

"We'll keep going in this Tour and we'll see how we feel."

Things were even worse for two-time former winner Alberto Contador, who crashed twice during the stage, including while going uphill.

He came home more than four minutes behind Uran and dropped from eighth overall to 12th, now 5:15 off the pace.

"It's secondary to talk about pain -- I wasn't how I'd hoped to be today, and that's it," said the Trek team leader.

"I felt good this morning and in fact we put Bauke (Mollema) and Jarlinson (Pantano) up the road thinking about a possible attack.

"But then the legs didn't respond."

Colombian Uran was one of the big winners on the day, moving up seven places to fourth, now just 55sec down on Froome.

Dane Jakob Fuglsang, winner of last month's prestigious Criterium du Dauphine week-long stage race, also moved up considerably after finishing the stage in sixth, gaining 10 places to now sit fifth overall at 1:37.

It wasn't such a great day for Briton Simon Yates, though, who dropped a place to seventh after coming home alongside Quintana.

But he kept hold of the young rider's jersey and even increased his lead in that competition over South African Louis Meintjes from 41sec to almost three minutes.

"I'm very happy to keep it," Yates, 24, said of the white jersey his twin brother Adam won last year.

"On the final climb I wasn't feeling good but other guys there were dropped and in difficulty.

"I just rode maximum to the top and all the way to the finish.

"It was a long way to the finish -- I'm just happy it's the rest day (on Monday)."

by Barnaby CHESTERMAN

© 2017 AFP