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Tour de France 2013: Stage 17

A mountain time trial is on the agenda for today!

Welcome back to Cyclingnews' coverage of the Tour de France! Today we have a very bumpy 32 kilometre long time trial. With two cat 2 climbs, it could be considered a mountain time trial, but thre is no uphill finish.

Our current leader is Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM), with a time of 54.02.
 

The course starts out climbing, hitting the top of the Cote de Puy-Sanieres at 6.5 kilometres (average gradient of 6%). Then there is along and curving descent, followed immediately by the second climb. The 6.9 ascent up the Cote de Reallon (6.3%) tops out at km 20. There is a flat section at the top, followed by a long descent with narrow roads.

Moreno Moser (Cannondale) is the first to seriously challenge Westra, finishing only 3 seconds down.

Oops, that was 3 seconds down at the second time check. He lost a lot of time on the end of the course, coming in 51 seconds behind Westra at the finish.

Some bad news for today: heavy rain storms are expected to move into the area at about 2 p.m. This could make things very dangerous.

There is still some question as to whether Jean-Christophe Peraud (AG2R) will ride today. The French rider, who was ninth overall, crashed this morning while checking out the course and injured his collarbone.

We now see that the team says that Peraud will indeed start today.

Alessandro di Marchi (Cannondale) sets a new best time at the 20km marker.

The Cyclingnews preview of today's stage can be found here.

Svein Tuft set a top time early in the first time trial, and spent a lot of time in the hot seat. Not this time.  He quickly “fell back” in the time rankings. Sprinter Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) put in a surprisingly good time, only to be beaten by veteran Stuart O'Grady (Orica-GreenEdge). But Westra was the first to break the 55 minute barrier, and in big time, topping O'Grady by 1:22.
 

De Marchi too lost much time in the final descent. After leading by 13 seconds at the last intermediate time, he finished 13 seconds behind Westra.

Thomas De Gendt is flying today! He shattered the times at the 13.5km marker, topping De Marchi by 35 seconds.

Our two climbs, according to letour:

Km 6.5 - Côte de Puy-Sanières6.4 kilometre-long climb at 6% - category 2
Km 20.0 - Côte de Réallon6.9 kilometre-long climb at 6.3% - category 2
 

No win for Tony Martin today. The OPQS rider has now finished 37 seconds slower than Westra.

De Gendt has also set a new best time at the 20 km marker. Let's see whether he can hold up to the end.

We had one non-starter today, Gorka Izagirre (Euskaltel).

Nairo Quintana is more of a climber than a time trialist, and hopes this will work to his advantage today.

De Gendt too has lost time coming into the finish! He is second at the moment, 12 seconds behind teammate Westra.

And an excellent time for Rein Taaramae (Cofidis). He has moved into second on the stage, one second faster that De Gendt.

It has not started raining or storming, in fact there is still sunshine. Let's hope it stays that way.

Damiano Cunego (Lampre Merida) is underway, as well.

Jon Izagirre (Euskaltel) has a one-second advantage at the final intermediate time check. Will he be the first to hold up on the final bit and crack Westa's final time?

Jakob Fuglsang went the wrong way around at a roundabout yesterday, and Thibuat Pinoud may have mononucleosis. Read about it in the Tour de France shorts.

Izagirre has indeed set a new best time! He was four seconds faster than Westra, which makes him the first to go under 54 minutes. His time was 53:58.

Izagirre covered the course with an average speed of 35,578 km/h.

Cyclingnews is of course at the race, and talked to some of the rides after they finished the TT. Watch the video here.

While you're at it, go ahead and subscribe to the Cyclingnews Youtube channel, to catch all the latest videos.

Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) puts in the 7th best time so far, at 0.41.59 down.

Our man at the scene, Dan Benson, tells us it is clouding up but that the storms are holding off.

Thomas Voeckler is 55th fastest across the line.

An excellent time for Alexander Geniez of FDJ. He coverd the course in 54.30, which makes him 6th at the moment.

Oh yes, it is definitely clouding up. We hope it stays dry -- and that everyone stays safe!

Arnold Jeannesson (FDJ.fr) is giving it a good go out on the climb.

We're seeing the first drops on rain at the finish. The umbrellas are out! This time trial is going to become a lot more difficult if the roads are wet.

Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEdge) finishes with a time of 57:39.

The rain is coming! There's a thunder storm coming in the direction of the race.

The descent to the finish has a new surface in long sections but it is often bumpy and riders are bouncing around.

Tejay van Garderen (BMC) sets a new fast time! The American set a time of 53:24, setting a new fast time by 34 seconds.

 

 

He will be one of the last riders to finish in the dry. It is now pouring down on his teammate Philippe Gilbert mid-course.

Richie Porte (Team Sky) starts his time trial. He's already said he will ride within himself to save his energy for the final Alpine stages.

There is heavy rain on the latter part of the course. That descent could be really nasty in the rain. We hear the wind is picking up, too.

Igor Anton (Euskaltel) is still in the dry. Arthur Vichot (FJD) is not.

Pierre Rolland is  being very careful on this wet and tricky final descent.

The transfer merry-go-round is happily going around! Who is going where, or who is rumoured to be going where.......

Interesting -- it looks as if the final climb and at least part of the descent are affected by the weather. The finish is dry.

Yesterday's stage winner Rui Costa (Movistar) takes to the course.

Christophe Riblon (AG2R) brings in a good finish. He is just over a minute down on Van Garderen, in 7th place.

We are now hearing that there is or has been hail along the way.

Cadel Evans looks grim as he takes to the course.

Apparently it is the first descent that is so wet and dangerous.

Remember to check out our video interview of rides after they have finished today's time trial. Click me!

Alejandro Valverde takes a deep breath and then takes off to tackle the TT course.

Arnold Jeannesson finishes with a top ten time. The rain doesn't seem to be affecting things quite so much as feared.

Andy Schleck (RadioShack) is underway now.

Peraud is warming up. He doesn't look real happy at the thought of riding with a cracked collarbone.

The rain has stopped at the second intermdiate time check (13.5km). We will see this as a sign that all the rain is stopping.

It looks as if the rain really has stopped and the road is drying. That would be excellent news.

Perarud moves to the start. We see various bandages and he is moving very gingerly.

Peter Velits is one of many who changes bikes along the way.

His teammate Michel Kwiatkowski starts.

Froome is warming up, as Dan Martin sits in the start house.

Sylvain Chavanel 33 at the 20km time check. He too changes bikes.

And best time for Alejando Valverde at the first time check:  exactly 15 minutes!

Peraud takes off. We wish him all the best on what will no doubt be a very tough ride.

Klöden is in, with the seventh best time so far.

Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) is the next to go. AT the same time, Velits crosses the finish line as 8th.

And Laurens ten Dam is all in Belkin green for his ride!

Chavanel just misses out on the top ten. Porte finished just ahead of him but was much frutehr down.

Schleck still with a good time at the next intermediate time check.

Quintana in the white jersey of the best young rider for his time trial.

Only four more riders to go: Kreuziger, Contador, Mollema and Froome.

And here goes Kreuziger.

Contador now takes off, three minutes after his teammate.

Froome starts moving towards to the start house.

Valverde nearly a whole minute faster than van Garderen at the second time check.

Mollema has now started.

And Purito Rodriguez tops Valverde at the first time check, by three seconds.

Froome coughs as he awaits his turn.

He goes! The last rider is now underway.

An outstanding time for Andy Schleck! The third best finish time, only 36 seconds down.

Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) fifth at the second time check.

Lots of fans along the way. And unfortunately a number of them in the road, as well.

Valverde also set the best time at the second time check.

Maxime Monfort of RadioShack approaches the finsih -- with a new best time? No, he is second.

We now hear that Contador has the best time at the first time check --by 20 seconds!

Defintiely a new best time for Valverde: 52.03. He has the lead at the momentt.

Kwiatkowski too changes bikes at the second time check.

Evans is in -- over seven and a half minutes down!

In the virtual rankings, Contador has passed Mollema to claim second in GC.

Ha! No best time for Froome at the first time check. He is two seconds behind Contador.

Peraud is still soldiering along, broken bone and all. He is 13th at the second time check.

An American bumps an American out of secon lace. Talansky has taken the spot away from van Garderen.

Rodriguez has now changed his bike.

AT the second time check, Fuglsang is third fastest -- at a minute slower than Valverde. He too changes bikes.

Mick Rogers fifth at the finish -- so far.

Froome is on the tricky first descent.

Kwiatkowski moves into second place on the day.

Time trialing is not really Mollema's thing.....

Mollema's teammate ten Dam is 11th at the second time check.

Rodriguez has an 18 second lead over Valverde at the seocnd time check.

Quintana at the second time check.  He brings in teh third vet time there, and then, he too changes over to a time trial bike.

Kreiuziger second at the second time check, only 3 seconds down. He does not change bikes.

We hear that Peraud may have crashed on the time trial.

A top time for Fuglsang - 53:07, which currently makes him third on the day.

Contador six seconds faster at the second time check.

Rodriguez comes into the finish, and it looks as if he will set a new best time.

And he now leads! HIs time is 51:43, which is more than 20 seconds faster than Valverde.

It is now being reported that Peraud has had to abandon the race after a crash with only 2 km to go.

Mollema hits the second time check further down that n he would have liked: 16th, at 1:53.21 down.

And now Froome comes to the second time check. He changes bikes before the time check!

He finally crosses teh line with the fourth fastest time there, 11 seconds behind Contador.

And ten Dam crosses the finsh line in 11th place.

The sun is shining, but there are some raindrops, as well.

Good show for Quintana. He finishes in third place on the day-

We have now seen the eradu crash. His front wheel slpped out and he went down right on that injured shoulder and collarbone. He was obviously in great pain.....

Kreuziger too puts in a great time. He just misses out on a new best time, but is only 13 seconds behind Rodriguez.

Contador is the next to come in. What wil his time be?

Cntador looks like he is shaking his head. Does he think he doesn't have a good time?

He is up out of the saddle for the final few hundred meters.

And he crosses the line in a time of 51.42 -- just barely ahead of Rodriguez!

Bad new for Froome, as it has started raining again and the road is wet.

Let's not forget Mollema, he is still out there, too.

Two km for Mollema and sunshine and dry roads.

Froome hasnow moved in the dry zone again.

Mollema misses a curve and smashes into the barrier. He has to put a foot down, and takes off again.

He will have to fight to make teh top ten today. Adn he just gets it! Tenth, 2 minutes down.

Froome is on now -- it will be nip and tuck!

And he takes it! Froome wins again, by 8.8 seconds over Contador!

Contador can only look and shake his head.

Valverde congratulates the happy winner-

Contador has moved up to second overall, with Kreuziger third. Mollema has dropped to fourth.

The top ten of the stage: 

1    Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling    0:51:33
2    Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Team Saxo-Tinkoff    0:51:42
3    Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha    0:51:43
4    Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Team Saxo-Tinkoff    0:51:56
5    Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team    0:52:03
6    Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team    0:52:44
7    Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step    0:53:05
8    Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team    0:53:07
9    Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp    0:53:14
10    Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team    0:53:24

And our new top ten:

1    Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling    66:07:09
2    Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Team Saxo-Tinkoff    66:11:43
3    Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Team Saxo-Tinkoff    66:12:00
4    Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team    66:13:32
5    Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team    66:14:07
6    Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha    66:14:30
7    Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team    66:15:32
8    Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team    66:16:05
9    Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step    66:18:19
10    Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp    66:19:59

Things get even more interesting tomorrow, when the peloton tackles the Alpe d'Huez not once, but twice. Be sure to join us for all the pain and fun!

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