Primoz Roglic won Stage 17 with an attack from the breakaway on the Col du Galibier, staying away over the summit and on the 28km descent into the finish.
Roglic had to work hard initially to keep away from Alberto Contador but on the descent the biggest threat came from Froome, Bardet and Uran who were working hard to take advantage of Aru’s gap, with the Italian coming in more than 30″ down on the race leader and moving off the podium in the GC.
Michael Matthews moves into the green jersey after Marcel Kittel abandons the race after crashing early in the stage. After Stage 16 Matthews had moved to within 30 points of the German and after taking the intermediate sprint points was just 9 behind when Kittel abandoned.
Stages 17 and 18 are going to be crucial in deciding the winner of this Tour de France and the first of the two alpine stages saw the peloton facing three legends of the Alps: the HC Col de la Croix Fer, the Cat 1 Col du Telegraphe and the HC Col du Galibier. There was no summit finish so the aim for the GC attacks would be to get enough of an advantage over the top of the climb to stay away on the descent into Serre Chevalier.
The lumpy start to the stage saw a breakaway struggle to form, with more than 10km of riding going by without an established break. A crash in the peloton saw Kittel coming down along with King of the Mountains Warren Barguil and Dimension Data’s Van Rensberg, but all were able to get back on their bikes after changes and dressings were applied.
The crash had put Kittel at an immediate disadvantage though as the road began to go upwards which wasn’t helped by green jersey rival Michael Matthews getting into a bunch of 20 riders that were able to get away finally. This group swelled to 30 riders including Matthews who was joined by Serge Pauwels (Dimension Data), Bauke Mollema, Michael Gogl and Jarlenson Pantano (Trek-Segafredo), Nicolas Roche, Amael Moinard and Daniel Wyss (BMC), Robert Kiserlovski (Katusha), Matthias Frank and Cyril Gautier (AG2R), Jonathan Castroviejo (Movistar), Brice Feillu and Pierre-Luc Perichon (Fortuneo-Oscaro), Sylvain Chavanel and Thomas Voeckler (Direct Energie), Daniel Navarro and Nicolas Edet (Cofidis), Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo), Rudy Molard (FDJ), Marco Minnard (Wanty Groupe Gobert), Esteban Chaves (Orica Scott), Thomas De Gendt and Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal), Dylan Van Baarle and Alberto Bettiol (Cannondale-Drapac), Pawel Poljanski (Bora-Hansgrohe), Ondrej Cink (Bahrain-Merida), Ben Swift and Darwin Atapuma (UAE Team Emirates) and Albert Timmer and Simon Geschke (Sunweb).
The group led up the first climb of the Col d’Ornon with Matthews and De Gendt attacking at the top to take mountain points, wth Matthews taking full honours to defend teammate Barguil’s lead in the mountains classification. The pair continued their attack on the race with Matthews beating De Gendt easily in the intermediate sprint in Allemont; the chasing group coming over 39″ later with the peloton more than 5′ behind them.
As the pair extended their lead to 2′ on the chasers with the peloton 6′ back, the attacks started to come in the peloton as they began the climb of the Croix Fer (HC). Nairo Quintana and Alberto Contador attacked and were allowed to get away but not long after Quintana faded and was unable to keep up with Contador, who continued on alone.
Contador was clearly feeling in great form and he was soon clawing back time on the chasing group as the climb continued. Contador eventually made contact with about 12km of the climb remaining after Gogl dropped back to pace him up as the GC group behind continued to shed riders on the fierce gradients. Team Sky had put Vasil Kiryienka on the front of the peloton to keep the gap manageable and his efforts had reduced the gap to the chase group down to 3’51”.
After Contador made contact with the group Pantano and Mollema were put to his service at the front to drive the break on and prevent Team Sky from pulling them back, which saw many riders drop out and leave the main breakaway group with just 23 riders whilst Matthews finally cracked and got dropped as De Gendt was absorbed back into the break.
De Gendt wasn’t having that though and attacked again this time taking Navarro with his as their pair got just under a minute on the Contador group with 2.7km to go until the summit. The pair were able to hold off Contador and co as De Gendt took the full points at the top of the mountain and began the descent, shortly after which he was caught by the break with 90km to go.
As the news came through that Kittel had abandoned the race the gap was at 3’15” as Team Sky continued to burn riders to bring the group back and stop Contador getting too much of a lead.
Pantano finally cracked at the front of the break as Mollema took over at the foot of the Col du Telegraphe with the advantage now back out to 3’38” with 60km left to race as the break group dwindled further to just 10 riders due to the pace put on by the Trek-Segafredo team. The remnants of the break included some climbers though and the break was able to stay together as Mollema kept the Team Sky led GC group back at 3’40” with just under 9km of the climb left.
The break was able to make it to the top of the climb with Roglic taking the points followed by Mollema and Contador who began the descent to the foot of the Galibier (HC). Mollema managed to stay on long enough to deliver Contador to the foot of the climb but then drifted back and left Riglic, Contador and Pauwels clear at the front of the race with 43km to go, their gap back to Team Sky at 3’33”.
Frank and Atapuma were able to make it up to the trio to make five riders at the front of the race as Kwiatkowski continued to push on for Team Sky. Froome was surrounded by his GC rivals but most of them had lost the majority of their teammates as the GC group continued to become isolated as they hit the climb.
With 8km to go to the summit Pauwels attacked and managed to escape from Contador’s chase, leaving Roglic the responsibility of chasing down the Dimension Data rider. Pauwels was able to get around 5″ but Roglic was able to pull him back before attacking himself. Roglic’s attack was must more explosive than Pauwels’ and he was able to get 11″ on Contador which quickly went out to 31″ with 5.2km to go to the summit.
In the GC group Dan Martin attacked and was able to carve out a lead of around 9″ on Froome but was caught with 4km to go to the top of the climb as Barguil took over at the front to try and take more mountain pointsm eventually attacking off the front leaving Landa to resume the chase for Sky once again.
In the break Atapuma attacked Contador and easily got away from the former Champion in pursuit of Roglic, who by now had 47″ on the chasing group and around 2’30” on the peloton.
After Barguil had gone off the front of the GC group there was an attack from Romain Bardet as Froome led the GC chase to bring him back before he went again, causing Aru to slip off the back of the GC group along with Simon Yates. Dan Martin was able to bring Bardet back with Froome, Uran, Landa and Meintjes all present. Meintjes’ presence after Yates’ slip could mean the white jersey changed hands if Yates wasn’t able to get back up to the group.
With 29km left to race in the stage Aru made contact with the leaders leaving Yates the only one still chasing the GC group. Roglic was more than 1′ ahead of the Contador group with 88m to go to the summit as Contador and Frank dropped Pauwels, soon after Contador dropped Frank too but his chance of taking the stage was slipping away with Roglic’s large lead.
Roglic went over the climb alone as he began the 28km descent to the finish as Bardet attacked again, distancing Aru as only Froome, Uran and Martin were able to go with him.
With 24km to go Roglic had 1’34” on the maillot jaune group which had caught up with Atapuma and included Contador, Barguil, Martin, Uran, Bardet, Frank, Landa and Froome as Fabio Aru was distanced and was almost 20″ further back.
The pace in the GC group was too much for Contador who dropped back leaving Froome, Bardet, Uran and Barguil chasing Rdolic who had 1’30” on them, with Aru and Meintjes a further 19″ back and Yates losing even more ground.
With 11km to go Aru was going backwards, trailing the GC group by 30″ as Froome, Bardet and Uran all helped Atapuma with the chase to put time into Aru and move him off of the podium.
Roglic was able to stay away to take the stage win despite the fervent chasing, with Uran winning the battle on the line to take second and Froome taking third. Aru finished 31″ behind the leaders and drops down the GC.
Tour de France 2017 Stage 17: La Mure>Serre-Chevalier 183km
|Position||Name (Team – Nationality)||Time|
|1||Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo – Slv)||5:07:41″|
|2||Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac – Col)||+1’13”|
|3||Chris Froome (Team Sky – GBr)||s.t.|
|4||Romain Bardet (AG2R – Fra)||s.t.|
|5||Warren Barguil (Sunweb – Fra)||s.t.|
|6||Mikel Landa (Team Sky – Spa)||+1’16”|
|7||Dan Martin (QuickStep – Ire)||+1’43”|
|8||Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo – Spa)||+1’44”|
|9||Louis Meintjes (UAE – RSA)||s.t.|
|10||Fabio Aru (Astana – Ita)||s.t.|
|Position||Name (Team – Nationality)||Time|
|1||Chris Froome (Team Sky – GBr)||59:07:41″|
|2||Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac – Col)||+27″|
|3||Romain Bardet (AG2R – Fra)||s.t.|
|4||Fabio Aru (Astana – Ita)||+53″|
|5||Mikel Landa (Team Sky – Spa)||+1’17”|
|6||Dan Martin (QuickStep – Ire)||+2’37”|
|7||Simon Yates (Orica-Scott – GBr)||+4’07”|
|8||Louis Meintjes (UAE – RSA)||+6’35”|
|9||Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo – Spa)||+7’45”|
|10||Warren Barguil (Sunweb – Fra)||+8’52″|