Stage 17 saw Simon Geschke (Giant-Alpecin) take his first win at the Tour de France on the climb to Pra-Loup on Wednesday. The German rider rode into the day's breakaway and then attacked to finish solo ahead of Andrew Talansky (Cannondale-Garmin) and Rigoberto Urán (Etixx-QuickStep).
The day also saw third-placed overall Tejay van Garderen (BMC) abandon the race due to an illness and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) crash. Chris Froome (Team Sky) maintain his lead in the overall classification and is now sitting 3:10 ahead of Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and 4:09 ahead of Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).
Samuel Sanchez (BMC), on losing team leader Tejay van Garderen
"It was very hard for us, three days to go to Paris and he's our leader. It was very hard for us. We're going to keep going and keep trying to do our best, but it's a huge blow. We just have to try and recover. We've had a decent Tour so far, we just have to try and put it to the back of our minds. I hope it's not too late. We're all struggling with fatigue at the moment, but losing Tejay is gutting for us as a team.
“It took me two or three minutes to figure out what I had done. It was important going into the break and then we had to figure out what to do after that. It was a very good group to be in, a lot of guys were hanging on. I had to try something. I went into a break on the long climb and I had to take my chances to win. It was beautiful. When I had so much of an advantage, I knew there was a chance. It was incredible.
“This is my third victory as a professional, to be at the Tour is… I was waiting for 15 years for this moment.”
Rudy Kemna (Giant-Alpecin, DS)
"Simon is in good shape, we know that already, this is a race for him when he is in the break. And he made a fantastic, ballsy, attack and held it to the finish. He is already a real good rider, not directly a sprinter or a climber but he can do a lot at a really high level. I'm really happy that he had this success. It's really fantastic."
Rigoberto Urán (Etixx-QuickStep), third placed finisher in Pra-Loup
"It wasn't an easy day. From the start there were many attacks and I always tried to be out in front but it was really, really hard to stay out in a breakaway. I just didn't have anything left to do any better than I have done today. I going to try and recover as best I can and then I will try again tomorrow."
"The team's in a very good place at the moment. I think we're doing a very good job together. We've been battling very hard out there, to tell you the truth. I would say we're happy. We're close to the podium, but we have three very tough days remaining."
"It was a really bumpy corner and we were going so fast that you just, that I suppose, he hit one of those bumps and his front wheel slipped I believe.
"I don’t know [how Contador is doing]. I haven’t seen him. I think he was alright. We got his chain back on quite quickly and got him going again. It’s a bit unfortunate, but it was a very technical, very bumpy descent. Unfortunately that’s the way it is."
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