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Tour de France 2015: Stage 17

Welcome back after yesterday's second rest day of the Tour de France. Today sees the race hit the Alps for the first of four mountain stages before the race's conclusion in Paris on Sunday. 

 

The stage is 161 km from Digne-les-Bains to Pra Loup, an exact copy of the stage Romain Bardet won at the Dauphine last month. 

 

 

There are five categorised climbs on the stage but the main action comes in the second half with the Col d’Allos, and it's very technical descent followed by the finish up at Pra Loup.

 

0km Cat 3 climb Col des Lèques 13:52
67km Cat 3 climb Col de Toutes Aures 14:42
96km Cat 2 climb Col de la Colle St Michel 15:21
111km Sprint Beauvezer 15:39
139km Cat 1 climb Col d’Allos 16:34
161km Cat 2 climb/Finish Pra Loup 17:04

 

The final climb, itself, isn't the toughest climb the riders will have to face in the race, not by a long shot but it should provide an interesting indication as to how the GC contenders are fairing after the second rest day. 

 

Expect attacks on the descent of the Col d’Allos too. Romain Bardet attacked just before the summit during the Dauphine and built up over a minute on the peloton by the time he started the climb to Pra Loup. Anything similar today should be enough to net the stage win with the final climb 6.2km in length. 

 

We're about 40 minutes away from the official start of the stage with riders already starting to sign on and leave the tranquility of their team buses. Here's a reminder of where we stand on GC coming into today's stage:

 

1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 64:47:16
2 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:03:10
3 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:03:32
4 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:04:02
5 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:04:23
6 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:05:32
7 Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 0:06:23
8 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:07:49
9 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing 0:08:53
10 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Alpecin 0:11:03

 

Froome also holds the lead in the KOM competition too, with Joaquim Rodriguez keeping the jersey warm for him on today's stage. The Spaniard is around 40 minutes down on GC and has won two stages already in this year's race. He's a prime candidate to go into the day's break.

 

1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 61 pts
2 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha 52
3 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 41
4 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky 40
5 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 38
6 Serge Pauwels (Bel) MTN - Qhubeka 33
7 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 32
8 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 32
9 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 32
10 Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 28

 

Peter Sagan has been in so many breaks so far in the race, but you wouldn't put it past him getting in today's. Here's how the Green jersey competition looks:

Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo 405 pts
2 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal 316
3 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin 264
4 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Etixx - Quick-Step 192
5 Bryan Coquard (Fra) Team Europcar 122
6 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 109
7 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx - Quick-Step 78
8 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 77
9 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal 76
10 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha 70

 

Before the stage starts, why not have a check through our top ten conclusions from week 2 of the Tour de France, featuring Contador, Froome, rider data and that man Peter Sagan. The piece is right here.

 

Of course there's also our podcast with the latest edition featuring interviews with Oleg Tinkov and snippets from Team Sky's press conference from the rest day. It's just here.

 

We're about 15 minutes away from the roll out and a further ten from the official start. The sun is out and there should be a slight tailwind on today's stage. 

 

To get a measure of the descent the riders face before the final climb you really need to watch this video. It's of Bardet attacking just before the crest of the Col d'Allos. Some of the risks he takes on the corners are just jaw dropping but his skill at descending is just as immense. Here's the video.

 

Two men who have promised attacks in the Alps are Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde. The Movistar pair have looked to attack Froome whenever they can in the race so far and while Quintana wasn't at the Dauphine, he'll be looking forward to this final ascent to Pra Loup. Here's what the pair had to say on yesterday's rest-day in Gap.

 

"Finishing runner-up wouldn't be a failure for me, rather a huge honour, but there's still a long way to go in this Tour and we'll give everything to win,” Quintana said during the team’s rest-day press conference in gap.

For his part, Valverde echoed his team leader’s sentiments about the Tour so far and their hopes for Paris.

“Finishing in second and third would be phenomenal, but all of my teammates and myself will give all that's left inside us for the win,” he said.

 

Meanwhile Tejay van Garderen has kept his podium chances alive with a string of dogged performances in the Pyrenees. If he wants to keep third overall in the race then he'll need to keep Valverde and Alberto Contador in check today

 

“There’s always a chance that Froome could stumble a little bit. Right now we haven’t seen any signs of him cracking. I need to look out for Quintana but I also need to look out for the two Spanish guys behind me: Valverde and Contador. They’re pretty close. For sure they’re going to want to take advantage if I fall into a difficult place but I’m feeling strong and the podium in Paris is a very realistic goal."

 

And the riders are now rolling through the neutralized zone for today's stage. This phase should take a little under ten minutes before we start the race officially. 

 

Stats & Facts

 

In 1996 of course the race tackled the Alps before the Pyrenees. Miguel Indurain famously cracked, Berzin briefly wore yellow and Bjarne Riis stamped his authority all over the race. 


One Spaniard who will be looking to use the Alps to his benefit is Alberto Contador. The TInkoff Saxo rider is over four minutes down on Froome but is starting to find his feet in the race. He still holds out some hope of completing the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France double

“The object of the double is very difficult now,” Contador said of his chances for overall victory as he currently sits fifth overall, 4:23 down on Froome.

“I think I did something complicated but not only for this year because I don’t think I will try it again. In any case, I still think it’s possible. The Giro was very difficult and tough with Astana strong from the beginning. I arrived at the Tour and the level of my rivals has been very high, so all together the double remains a difficult task.”

 

The riders have now made it through the neutralized zone and we've started to see a few attacks from the head of the field. Nothing has stuck just yet but the intent is clearly there.

 

A group of around ten riders briefly move clear but they're brought back by the field. Surprise, Peter Sagan is the latest rider to to make a move.

 

Steven Kruijswijk has joined Peter Sagan at the front of the race but the peloton are in no mood to let this one go and they've been brought back. Case closed. 

 

145km remaining from 161km

Just over 11km of the race covered and the peloton are still as one. There have been a number of attacks but so far none of the moves have established more than a few seconds. 

 

33 degrees, a slight tailwind, make for great racing conditions as we see  another flurry of attacks from the main field. 

 

Another move sees a group of 31 go clear. It includes Sagan, Thibaut Pinot, Joaquim Rodríguez and Andrew Talansky but the peloton brings the, back. 

136km remaining from 161km

25 kilometres gone and it's all together. In just under 10km time the riders will be taking on the first climb of the day - the Col des Lèques. 

 

 

Jérémy Roy is the next man to attack but the peloton isn't letting anything go for the time being. 

 

Sam Bennett is off the back again with a few others as the pace stays high. 

 

Another attack as we start this first climb of the day for real. Albert Timmer (Giant-Alpecin) and Dani Navarro (Cofidis) have gone clear. There's a large group forming, though, ahead of the peloton and it includes Sagan and Rodríguez. 

 

Timmer and Navarro are joined by the chasers and we now have a group of 36 riders out in front. They have 25 seconds on the peloton and this one might be sticking. Pinot is in there along with the green and polka dot jerseys. 

 

Quintana attacks! The Colombian makes his intentions clear as he tests Sky with an early dig. The move puts an end to that 36-rider escape and sends more riders out the back. It's lively from the off here. 

 

It's all kicking off here - Tejay van Garderen is in trouble. The number of riders off the back is ever growing and there are now more than 60. 

 

Van Garderen is at risk of slipping off the podium today. He is in a group which is one minute behind the yellow jersey group containing the rest of the GC men. We've crested the climb and are on the descent now. That may help him get back on but being dropped this early, on a cat 3 climb, does not bode well for what's in store later on. We talked about the American having an off-day, and whether that might come after a rest day - is that materialising here? 

Meanwhile two riders have jumped clear of the peloton with Andrew Talansky and Steven Kruijswijk skipping clear. 

 

We're on the descent of the climb so van Garderen should be able to make contact but being dropped at this point isn't a great sign for things to come. 

 

The two leaders have just ten seconds on the field with 45km covered in today's stage. Talansky is best placed on GC, 23 minutes down on Froome and in 17th place overall. 

 

Van Garderen though had around a minute to make up on the peloton at the top of the climb. That should be possible at this point with a long valley section after the descent before the next climb begins. 

 

The two leaders have been brought back by the main field. Van Gaderen though is at 1'20. It's not looking good for the American flyer. 

 

Van Garderen's podium chances are slipping away. He had a bad day at this point in last year's race but to struggle on a 3rd cat climb so early in the stage is something else. He can only hope that the peloton eases up and that he can recover before more serious tests in today's stage profile.

 

Van Garderen is calling for medical assistance. That's not a good sign, at all. He's with Caruso who is trying to pace him back to the main field. 

 

Two minutes down for Van Garderen. He must be sick to lose this amount of time so early in the stage. 

 

Meanwhile the pace of the peloton is relentless. We have two riders up top, then a group of thirty that contains Contador, Froome, Nibali and Quintana. Then another group for Sagan and Rodriguez. Then we have van Garderen's group. 55km covered. 

104km remaining from 161km

The two leaders on the road are Serge Pauwels (MTN) and Jan Bakelants (AG2R) with 104km to go. The start to this stage has been so aggressive but how long can the peloton keep this up for?

 

Three minutes now for van Garderen. He's in a group with just one teammates. Laurens ten Dam is also there. 

 

The two leaders have been caught so we have around 30 riders in the main lead group, the peloton at 1'18 and the van Garderen at 3'20.

 

Right now Team Sky are on the front and setting the pace for Froome as they try and establish some form of order within the race. They've already had to answer an attack from Nairo Quintana and we still have 100km to go.

 

Van Garderen is struggling to even hold the wheels in the ten Dam group now. 

 

We have three groups out on the road. The first group contains 28 riders including Sagan. Then we  have the peloton with all the GC contenders ,and then we have van Garderen's group at 3'45. The American has two teammates with him but he keeps shaking his head when they offer him food and assistance. 

 

BMC have now confirmed that their GC prospect for the race is indeed ill. 

 

The 28 riders up the road include Sagan, Hesjedal, Pinot, Talansky, Frank, Uran, Majka and Roche.

 

Van Garderen now has the BMC team car alongside him. There's always the option of pulling out but even though he's losing time the American will want to continue in the race. 

 

And there's a crash.

 

Westra has hit the deck. He's now back on his feet as Team Sky continue to set the pace on the second climb of the day.

 

The 28 leaders have 1'44 over the maillot jaune group with van Garderen at four minutes. 

 

Race radio crackles through, and Nathan Haas has abandoned the race.

 

Courtesy of LetTour.com here are the riders in the main break. It's stacked with real quality:

 

Tanel Kangert (Astana), Jan Bakelants and Mikaël Chérel (AG2R-La Mondiale), Thibaut Pinot and Benoît Vaugrenard (FDJ), Richie Porte and Nicolas Roche (Sky), Rafal Majka and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo), Jonathan Castroviejo, José Herrada and Gorka Izagirre (Movistar), John Degenkolb and Simon Geschke (Giant-Alpecin), Alberto Losada (Katusha), Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEdge), Rigoberto Uran (Etixx-Quick Step), Perrig Quémeneur (Europcar), Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo), Kristjian Durasek and Rafael Valls (Lampre-Merida), Andrew Talansky and Ryder Hesjedal (Cannondale-Garmin), Nicolas Edet (Cofidis), Mathias Frank (IAM Cycling), Merhawi Kudus, Serge Pauwels and Daniel Teklehaimanot (MTNèQhubeka).

 

Interesting that Team Sky have two men in the move with Porte and Roche. That's intent for you but it puts more pressure on the five riders left around Froome. 

 

The world champion is back in the van Garderen group, which picks up a few more riders on the second climb. Team Sky are now on the descent and heading towards the feedzone at 80km. 

 

As things stand Valverde has moved into third on GC with Contador now in fourth. Will we see more of a GC shake up on the Col de la Colle?

 

Team Sky have the peloton lined out on the descent with Rowe and Stannard sharing the pace duties. The break is at 3'09 with 85km to go. 

 

Van Garderen's nightmare continues though, as he slips to 5'04 down on the break and over 3'30 down on the main field.

 

80km remaining from 161km

The leading group are approaching the next climb with around two minutes over the main field. The Team Sky riders are understandably sitting on at the moment but they're well placed should attacks come from the main field and Froome is forced to respond.

 

Pinot is keep to push on even though a number of the break are trying to take a comfort break. 

 

Onto the lower slopes of the climb now, with 77km to go and a large proportion of that is uphill. 

 

75km remaining from 161km

With the peloton easing up van Garderen has made it back to the main field. 

 

The peloton have passed through the feedzone and picked up lunch and that's allowed for van Garderen to make contact with the main field. 

 

And Contador has attacked. Just like that with 74km to go.

 

Rogers winds it up for him and takes him away and the pair open up a small gap. Team Sky need to react to that. Tinkoff Saxo already have two men up the road too!

 

And Team Sky move back to the front of the group as Contador and Rogers plough on ahead. The main break is at 3'49.

 

Contador is taking a huge gamble here but he's rolled the dice and it's paid off before. Are we about to see another Fuente Dé?

 

It's Movistar who are looking to close down the Contador attack, as Rogers drops back having done his bit. The GC favourites are catching him though. 

 

Contador is making the chase work though, even though the gap is just a few seconds he's not letting up. 

 

And Valverde comes over and joins Contador.

 

Now Tam Sky chase the move down with Konig on the front. All back together but the peloton is splitting and Froome has just two men left. 

 

And now we see van Garderen start to lose ground once more. The American just needs to survive today. His teammates have pushed on without him. 

the Col de la Colle is proving a much tougher task for the peloton as the BMC car track van Garderen. He may pull out of the race. 

 

He's crawling up this climb and the BMC car has stopped. 

 

It's all over for Tejay van Garderen. He grinds to a halt, an arm around his shoulder from his DS but he can't come back from this. The rider had started the stage in third overall. 

 

Back to the peloton and Team Sky continue to set the pace with two men leading Chris Froome. All the other GC men are present. 

 

Rogers has gone on the attack again and he's been joined by a Movistar rider. 

 

Now Europcar are trying to launch Rolland up the road and Valverde is in a counter attack but Team Sky are pulling it all back together. 

 

Off the back and Gallopin is losing time as Team Sky cancel out the Europcar and Valverde accelerations. 

 

Pauwels is currently leading the break having taken maximum points on the last climb. The peloton are making up ground though and have the break at 2'47. Rogers and Malori are still off the front of the break. 

 

No panic from Team Sky who just need to keep the race in check up until the last climb, where Froome can do his thing. 

 

Pauwels is trying to keep the break going and has been joined by two riders. The peloton with 66km to go are at 2'48.

 

Team Sky are just riding tempo at the moment as Movistar and Tinkoff Saxo fire warning shots with early attacks as Pauwles leads the break over the top of the climb, the peloton out to 3'05.

 

Rogers and Malori have been joined by Barta and Sicard as the pace in the peloton has eased slightly, while Gallopin is still over a minute down on the yellow jersey group. 

 

Brice Feillu (Bretagne) has also linked up with this mini-break that contains Rogers and Malori. They're trying to weaken Team Sky but also fight it out for the podium places as well. 

 

In case you missed the news, Tejay van Garderen has dropped out of the race. He was dropped on the first climb of the stage and despite fighting back to the bunch he was distance once more. It's reported that the American, who was third overall, was suffering with illness. The story on him is just here

 

The break are on the descent of the Col de la Colle Saint-Michel with 57km to go. The break are 3'45 ahead of the peloton.

 

Pinot calls for Sagan to take a turn on the front but he just shrugs his shoulders. He's waiting for the intermediate sprint as we see Chris Froome descend the last climb. Sam Bennett, the last rider in the race, has abandoned. 

 

Hesjedal waves his arms, he's not happy with the lack of collaboration in the break either. They still have 4'02 on the peloton with 51km to go but they need to make a proper selection on the next climb. 

 

FDJ show Degenkolb and Sagan a bit of steel. Clearly the two sprinters wanted the points but they've not collaborated with the pace setting so FDJ take maximum points. No gifts but Degenkolb and Sagan don't look happy. 

Valverde has been back to the team car and is currently being paced back by a teammate. Sky are still in control and have five men around Froome, while Contador, Quintana and Nibali sit a little further back.

 

At the front of the race Simon Geschke has attacked from the main break. The German has realised that the group isnt work so he's made a move while in the valley before the next climb. 43km to go.

 

Ian Stannard sets the pace for the peloton with Simon Geschke opening up a lead of 7'09. Can the German pull off a famous stage win?

 

Herrada and Durasek are trying to chase down the Giant-Alpecin rider with the rest of the break at around 50 seconds and the leaders close to starting the penultimate climb of the Col d'Allos. 

 

37km remaining from 161km

Simon Geschke (Team Giant-Alpecin) pushes his lead out to 8'00 with 37km to go. The main field has about 60 riders in there with AG2R, Team Sky and Europcar near the front. Will we see Contador attack once more?

 

Simon Geschke (Team Giant-Alpecin) is onto the climb with the gap at 8'40. He was in the break two days ago as well and he has Daniel Teklehaimanot chasing him down, who was also in the same break. 

 

If you're just joining us the big news is that Tejay van Garderen has pulled out of the race due to illness. The story is here.

 

The peloton are now on the climb too with the lead to Geschke out to 9'31. 

 

The German is gritting his teeth though as the gradient starts to rise. He has a small lead over the rest of the break with 32km to go.

 

The break is starting to split with riders all over the road. Talansky is in one group along with Yates, Valls just ahead of them. 

 

Geschke still leads, with his gap over the peloton at 10'02. His major concern will be the remnants of the break who are chasing him down. It looks like Kangert has joined the chase group with Yates and Roche. Talansky is a little further back with a bunch of riders including Porte. 

 

Daniel Teklehaimanot is about to be caught by the main bulk of the chase group so we have just one rider clear in Gescke. 

 

Race radio has confirmed that world champion Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Etixx - Quick-Step has abandoned the race. 

 

Just 28km to go in the stage and we've yet to see any more attacks from the main field as they start the climb. There's an attack from the break though with Frank trying to go clear. It looks like Pauwels will bring him back.

 

It's Majka who closes the gap in the end and it's causing problems for a number of riders in the break who start to lose ground. 

 

Now Roche attacks and Pauwels is the first to try and match him. There are so many tired legs out there.

 

Pinto we are hearing is around 20 seconds down on the bulk of the break, having lost time on the descent before the climb started. And Frank has attacked again.

 

This time he has a gap and Talansky is trying to go across to him. The American is 17th on GC. 

 

Roche isn't throwing in the towel either and he's attacked too. Frank has around 10m on Talansky who is trying to grind his way up to the IAM rider. Back in the bunch and Trek are setting the pace.

 

Pinto has made it back and moves to the front but has he missed the key move? The FDJ rider is setting the pace to try and bring back Talansky and Frank.

 

Ian Stannard has cracked, his work done for the day as Sky continue to have some help from Trek on the front of the peloton.

 

They're trying to protect Mollema's top ten position with Frank and Talansky a threat to that. 

 

The Trek pace is causing damage in the peloton as Pinot and Talansky link up. Gallopin has been dropped once more. Another reason why Trek are on the move. 

 

Yates and two more riders have now joined the Talansky and Pinot move but Geschke still has around one minute on them. 

 

25km remaining from 161km

25km to go for the lone leader as Pinot goes again and this time only Frank can match him. Talansky chasing but Pinot keeps pushing. All three then link up with Yates just behind them. 

 

Mollema has two men left on the front Arredondo and Jungles as Pinot finally starts to open up a gap on Talansky and Frank. It's only a couple of seconds though. 

 

Bardet won here at the Dauphine, can Pinot save his race with a stage win here? Geschke is over a minute clear with 23km to go. 

 

Pinot is clear though of the Talansky group at the very least and is second on the road as Rodriguez is the latest rider to lose ground from the yellow jersey group. 

 

Arredondo has blown too as more and more riders start to slip back. We'll be left with just the top ten contenders soon. 

 

Pinot has taken ten seconds off Geschke but the gap is at 1'25. Konig has now been dropped. 

 

And it's Astana who take up the pace on the front of the peloton for Nibali. Three of his men sit on the front with Team Sky just to their left wing. 

 

Geschke takes a very sticky bottle there from the team car as Bardet starts to lose contact. 

 

Geschke gaining time on the yellow jersey but Astana are setting a furious pace lower down the climb. 

 

Pinot has Geschke at 1'10 with 22km to go. 

 

In the chase group we have Uran, Talansky, Yates, and Frank as Pinot pulls back a couple more seconds on Geschke.

 

Now Rolland is being dropped by the Froome group.

 

Geschke goes over the top of the climb and starts the descent. Here we go. 

 

And now Mollema is losing contact, having set his team to work earlier. It's still Astana on the front as we see Barguil also lose ground. Froome still has Thomas with him. 

There around a dozen riders in the Froome group which includes Contador, Valverde, Quintana, Nibali and Thomas. It's currently Scarponi who is doing all the damage as Sanchez loses contact. Gesink is struggling but hanging in there. Just.

 

Pinot has crashed. 

 

He lost bike from under him but he's back on his feet, on his bike and chasing again. 

 

And a huge attack from Nibali.

 

Only Froome, Valverde, Quintana and Contador can match him. Thomas and Gesink have been dropped. 

 

The GC men have 1km to and and Astana have isolated Froome before they key descent of the stage. Movistar still have two men and Contador is at the back of the group. Geschke has 1'30 on Pinot with 14km to go.

 

And Quintana with a a clever attack as Porte has dropped back and joined the group. The Australian moves to the front straight away and starts to set the pace. Contador appears to be suffering. 

 

Talansky has caught Pinot on the descent as Porte leads his captain over the top of the climb. 

 

It's Nibali who leads on the descent and Contador now has Sagan for company. 

 

Talansky is dropping Pinot with 11km to go but Geschke still lead by over a minute. 

 

And Uran is about to catch and pass Pinot. 

 

It's been faultless from Geschke so far who has 1'37 over Talansky. 

 

Nibali still leads his GC rivals, Froome on his wheel. 

 

And Contador is in trouble. He's got a problem. 

 

Sagan and Makja are with him but now we just have Nibali, Froome, Valverde and Quintana in that order. 

 

Pinot has been caught and passed by  a number of other riders. Still no sign of Contador though who has lost contact with the leaders after his problem. 

 

It appears that Contador had a bike change but it's a huge ask for him to make contact with the Nibali/Froome group. 

 

Geschke is now on the climb up to Pra Loup. Can he hang on for the stage win?

 

The Giant rider has around 1'50 on the chase as Froome matches the descending skills of Nibali and Valverde. 

 

There's still no time check for Contador as Talansky starts the climb. 

 

5km remaining from 161km

Less than 5km to go for the lone leader with Talansky at 1'25.

 

Pinot has caught Frank and Yates on the lower slopes of the climb. 

 

There's around 400m between Geschke and Talansky. Is that enough for the Giant Alpecin rider?

 

Valverde still leads on the descent with Froome, Nibali and Quintana following. There's still no time gap for Alberto Contador. 

 

At this rate we will end the day with two riders from Movistar on the podium. Up ahead though Talansky has taken ten seconds off Geschke however the gap is 59 seconds with 3km to go.

 

And now Froome and co have started the climb. Surely Quintana will make his move now?

 

Valverde winds up, content for now to put more time into Contador. Up ahead it looks like Uran is clawing his way back to Talansky. Geschke has 51 seconds over the American. 

 

2km remaining from 161km

Less than 2km to go for Geschke as we hear that Contador is 1'05 back on the Froome group.

 

Now we see Contador, all alone and on the climb. He's losing more and more time to his rivals as Geschke has just 1000m to go. 

 

Froome has just marked everything thrown at him today but will Quintana try one last move on the final climb?

 

500m to go for Geschke and he's going to hang on for the stage. A fine win for the Giant - Alpecin rider. 

 

And Simon Geschke wins stage 17 of the Tour de France. Talansky comes over the line to take second. 

 

Rigoberto Uran has to settle for third on the stage for Etixx QuickStep.

 

Pinot takes fourth and Frank fifth as further down the road we see Movistar led by Malori and Valverde. 

 

And Quintana has attacked. Can he hold a gap as Froome chases him down.

 

Job done for Froome who leads his other rivals up to the Columbian. Now Astana lead with Kangert on the front for Astana.

 

1km to go for the yelllow jersey and his main rivals but Contador is still losing time. He's two minutes down on Froome. It's confirmed that Contador did indeed crash, we can see his ripped shorts. 

 

And Quintana goes again and only Froome can hold him, Nibali and Valverde dropped. 

 

And now Froome attacks and Quintana has to follow. 300m to go.

 

Valverde drops Nibali as Quintana goes once more but Froome has enough to match him as they cross the line together. 

 

Thomas comes over the line just after Nibali and he might find himself above Contador tonight. 

 

Gesink is the rider home next and Porte follows a few seconds later. Contador is still out there on the climb. 

 

Contador comes home. His overall chance well and truly over after today.

 

1 Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin 4:12:17
2 Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 0:00:32
3 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:01:01
4 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:01:36
5 Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling 0:01:40
6 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 0:02:27
7 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Sky 0:03:02
8 Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Movistar Team 0:03:04
9 Serge Pauwels (Bel) MTN - Qhubeka 0:03:05
10 Adam Yates (GBr) Orica GreenEdge 0:03:21

 

 And here's where we stand on GC:

 

General classification after stage 17

1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 69:06:49
2 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:03:10
3 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:04:09
4 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:06:34
5 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:06:40
6 Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 0:07:39
7 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:08:04
8 Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling 0:08:47
9 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing 0:11:47
10 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Alpecin 0:13:08

Quintana and Froome shake hands at the finish before the Team Sky rider starts his warm-down.

 

Geschke: “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.”

 

Froome holds his lead over Quintana at 3'10 with Valverde moving into  third overall at 4'09. Thomas is up to fourth with van Garderen abandoning the race and Alberto Contador crashing. 

 

Contador remains in fifth on GC, but is now 6'04 down on Froome and over 2'30 back on Valverde in third. 

 

A strong ride from Frank though who has moved into the top ten and is now 8th overall. 

 

1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 69:06:49
2 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:03:10
3 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:04:09
4 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:06:34
5 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:06:40
6 Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 0:07:39
7 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:08:04
8 Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling 0:08:47
9 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing 0:11:47
10 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Alpecin 0:13:08

 

Tejay van Garderen's teammate Samuel Sanchez: 

 

"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. We're all struggling with fatigue at the moment, but losing Tejay is gutting for us as a team."

 

Talnasky for his effort moves up to 12th on GC after finishing second on the stage. 

 

Alejandro Valverde: "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."

 

Michael Rogers on Alberto Contador's crash: 

"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."

{How’s he doing?}

"I don’t know. 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."

 

Thanks again for joining us today for live coverage. You can find our complete report for the stage right here.

 

We'll be back tomorrow for stage 18.

 

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