Tadej Pogačar won a gruelling stage 17 to extend his Tour de France lead ©Getty Images

Defending champion Tadej Pogačar of UAE Team Emirates extended his lead in the Tour de France general classification by winning stage 17 in domineering fashion.

With the race concluding on Sunday (July 18), the gruelling three climbs towards the end of today’s stage had been billed as pivotal. 

After beginning in the town of Muret, a relatively steady first two-thirds of the stage were followed by the Col de Peyresourde and Col de Val Louron-Azet category-one climbs before finishing with the 16-kilometre Col du Portet climb.

Slovenia's Pogačar caught French leader Anthony Perez with 8.5km to go on Bastille Day, and only Danish Jumbo-Visma rider Jonas Vingegaard and Richard Carapaz of Ecuador and Ineos Grenadiers could keep pace with Pogačar then.

Carapaz made his move with a little more than 1km to go, but could not drop Pogačar.

Pogačar then kicked clear 150 metres before the line - crossing it in 5 hours 3mins 31sec.

Vingegaard came second, three seconds back, and Carapaz was an additional second behind to complete the top three.

This was Pogačar's first-ever stage victory while wearing the yellow jersey, and the 22-year-old is now 5min 39sec clear of second-placed Vingegaard in the general classification.

Colombian Rigoberto Urán slipped from second to fourth in the overall standings, losing 1:49 on the stage to be 7:17 off Pogačar's pace.

Carapaz is third, 5:43 back.

A 129.7 km mountain stage is in store tomorrow, the last mountain stage of this year's race.