Chris Froome
Froome still in control after stage 18.Getty

Chris Froome edged closer to Tour de France glory after a day of sizzling attacks and spectacular Alpine switchbacks.

The Team Sky rider kept his lead of three minutes 10 seconds after coming home safely along with his rivals at the end of stage 18.

Froome has just two more days in the French Alps to negotiate before knowing a second Yellow Jersey is his to go with the 2013 success.

Romain Bardet gave France a second win of the Tour with a fine solo break to triumph on the 118mile stage from Gap to Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne.

The AG2R rider came home 33 seconds ahead of fellow Frenchman Pierre Roland.

Froome's rivals mounted a series of attacks on the monstrous 13-mile climb of the Col du Glandon but to no avail.

And again they tried on the spectacular ascent of the Lacets de Montvernier - with an incredible 18 hairpins inside less than two miles.

But with loyal lieutenant Geraint Thomas alongside him, Froome never looked remotely under threat even if he did drift away from Thomas for a short period.

There seems little second-place Nairo Quintana can do to break Froome who is clearly in stronger form than when he even won the title two years ago.

The Colombian climber's Movistar team-mate Alejandro Valverde remains third, four minutes nine seconds adrift.

Thomas stayed fourth, six minutes 34 seconds down, despite an attempt by two-time champion Alberto Contador to regain time he lost on his crash on stage 17.

The Spaniard, who at six minutes 40 seconds down is not a threat for Froome, did open up a lead of 30 seconds at one point but was hauled back into the peloton.

Double Olympic champ Thomas, 29, said: "Perfect. It's ideal really. The team was strong, we didn't panic when guys were attacking.

"We didn't have to react to Contador when he went. We followed over the top.

"The last climb was tough with those hairpins. Morale is good and everyone is up for it. We can see the finish."

Froome, 30, said: "Our rivals are attacking us from all angles, but that's to be expected.

"We're focused on two guys at the moment in Quintana and Valverde.

"If anyone else attacks it's almost their responsibility to look after their own podium positions.

"But I definitely do not hate being in this position. I've worked too hard to hate being here.

"This is the dream scenario. I just have to look back to last year. I was sitting at home watching this race on TV with a broken hand and a broken wrist.

"There's absolutely no way I'd change anything right now. This is the dream for me."