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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Riis Maintains Advantage Through Pyrenees Stages

HENDAYE, France -- Dutch rider Bart Voskamp won Thursday's stage over the Pyrenees while Bjarne Riis maintained his virtually unassailable lead as the Tour de France headed into its final three days.


With only a flat stage Friday and the Tour's second time trial Saturday remaining before the ceremonial spin through Paris on Sunday, Riis appeared to underscore his lock on his first Tour victory.


The 32-year-old Dane finished with the main pack of riders 16 minutes, 56 seconds behind Voskamp in the 154.5-kilometer stage from Pamplona, Spain to Hendaye, France.


Riis secured his overall lead after winning Tuesday's stage and finishing second Wednesday in two grueling climbing stages in the Pyrenees that shook up the overall standings.


Five-time defending champion Miguel Indurain, who was going for his record sixth straight Tour win, finished with the main pack of riders Thursday and remains 15:36 behind Riis.


Professional photographers boycotted the race Thursday after photographer Patrick Boutroux of the sports newspaper L'Equipe was knocked off his motorcycle by sports director Alvaro Pino of the Kelme team Wednesday.


Boutroux, 44, suffered cuts and bruises on his left leg, hip and shoulder and said Pino should be given a one-day suspension.


"The Tour is three weeks long and I don't want to end up in a wheelchair because of some idiot," said Boutroux, who was forced off his motorbike going 90 kilometers per hour.


On-course television camera crews also boycotted most of the stage, providing coverage from a motorcycle only in the final 20 kilometers.


Tour director Jean-Marie Leblanc said he would meet with Pino and the photographers after Thursday's stage.


The racers rode slowly through the hot stage, covering just 27 kilometers in the first hour as the Tour returned to France after one stage in Spain.


About 15 riders pulled ahead of the main group halfway through the course and Voskamp outsprinted Germany's Christian Henn to win his first Tour stage victory.


(For other results, see Scorecard.)