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Live coverage

Tour de France 2019: Stage 17


Hello and welcome to our live coverage of stage 17 to Gap.  

The riders are in Pont du Gard just outside Nimes for the start.

The final riders are signing on and are about to line-up for the roll out.

We're expecting a huge fight to get in the breakaway today. The racing will be fast and furious right from the start.  

With three race-deciding mountain stages just beyond it, the only concern for Julian Alahpilippe and his GC rivals will be to reach Gap without suffering any mishaps and having expended as few resources as possible.

Topping out at just under 1,000 metres, it's not featured on a Tour stage into Gap since 2006, when French baroudeur Pierrick Fédrigo outwitted Italian galloper Salvatore Commesso.

Since Fédrigo's victory, all four stages into Gap have been won by riders who were members of the day's break. Sergio Paulinho won in 2010, Thor Hushovd a year later, Rui Costa in 2013 and Rubén Plaza rode in alone in 2015.

The organisers' choice of the Sentinelle may be a consequence of the Manse's tendency to produce an unexpected twist in the GC battle. In 2003, Joseba Beloki crashed out on the descent.

As the CN blimp takes height over the Pont du Gard, the riders roll out. 

The riders are packed tight behind the red race director's car, ready to go on the attack. 

The intermediate sprint comes after just 62km and that's why Peter Sagan is up front. Her might jump into the break to take the points and even chase the stage victory.

This is the map of the stage. The route cuts across the southern Vaucluse and Drome regions before climbing gradually into the lower Alps.

1km until the flag drops! 

The riders are in the vineyards of Gard, north of Avignon. The speed is about to explode when the flag drops.   

200km remaining from 200km

The only non-starters today are LL Sanchez (Astana) and Cees Bol (Sunweb).

As the road kicks up, guess who is on the move? 

Yep, it's Thomas De Gendt (Lotto). He's lined out the peloton to test the legs of his rivals. 

Boom! De Gendt's surge has split the peloton.

194km remaining from 200km

A group of 20 or so riders form and begin to work through and off to distance the peloton.

There are perhaps 30+ riders in the move. They lead by 25 seconds but the elastic has still to snap.  

In there are Greg van Avermaet, Bauke Mollema, Nico Roche, Jasper Stuyven, Matteo Trentin, Rui Costa, Thomas De Gendt, Edvald Boasson Hagen and Daniel Oss. 

However the Total and Arkea teams have missed the attack and so have been ordered to chase by  their DS. 

182km remaining from 200km

The stage switches to narrow roads now. This could be a key moment. 

176km remaining from 200km

The team who missed the break are running out of riders to do the work. 

The desperate duo are Anthony Turgis (Total) and Elie Gesbert (Arkéa) 

This is the full list of the 34 attacker. It's a fascinating list of strong riders. 

According to Letourdata, Thomas De Gendt and the front group averaged 55.1km/h in the first 20km so they could open a 1:00 gap.

167km remaining from 200km

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156km remaining from 200km

Five teams are not represented in the breakaway: Jumbo-Visma, Total, Groupama-FDJ, Ineos and Arkea but only Total and Arkea are chasing.

154km remaining from 200km

It's hot in the break and the peloton. The riders are on the exposed roads between Orange and Vaison-la-Romaine but there is no time for them to enjoy the stunning views.

148km remaining from 200km

146km remaining from 200km

Lots if riders also have ice-packs on their necks to try to stay cool. 

Thibaut Pinot and Geraint Thomas also stopped for a break and ride through the team cars. 

136km remaining from 200km

134km remaining from 200km

The peloton reaches the sprint point 6:30 behind the break. 

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126km remaining from 200km

It's been a hectic start but with the race settles, it's a great chance to catch up with the great news on Cyclingnews.

Team Ineos may not be the dominant force of recent years but they remain in the thick of the action as this year’s Tour de France heads towards a conclusion in the Alps over the coming days.

Team manager Dave Brailsford believes that two races are going in in this year’s Tour: the first of which revolves around dismantling Alaphilippe’s GC lead, while the second centres on what he sees as the battle for victory from behind between the more experienced contenders.

This is a shot of the breakaway, with one of the favourites for the day - Greg van Avermaet - on the front. 

114km remaining from 200km

We've upped our tech coverage in recent weeks and Josh Evans and Josh Croxton were on the ground checking out the shoes, sunglasses, helmets and aero socks in the Tour de France peloton.

110km remaining from 200km

Deceuninck continue to lead the peloton. Today the sprint lead out riders Max Richeze and Michael Morkov have to do the heavy lifting and hard miles on the front. 

The Tour de France dominates the news but there are other minor races going on.  

105km remaining from 200km

103km remaining from 200km

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The road descends gradually over the next 40 kilometres or so. There is no particular urgency in the peloton, which has now slipped to 11:06 behind the large breakaway.

91km remaining from 200km

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The rain is falling rather more heavily over the break. The peloton, meanwhile, has yet to reach these wet roads. 12:45 the gap.

78km remaining from 200km

The escapees are back on dry roads for the time being, but dark clouds remain overhead. Given the soaring temperatures these past two days, few will be unhappy at the thought of a definitive break in the weather. 

68km remaining from 200km

The rain storm means the clouds are blocking the sun for now s the riders go through the Gorges de la Meouge.  

59km remaining from 200km

54km remaining from 200km

Up front in the break, the 33 rider are waiting for the final climb. They know it will shake out the break and reveal who has a chance of final victory. 

As ever, Julian Alaphilippe was asked about his form, his plans and his hopes.  

46km remaining from 200km

Tom Scully is in the break of the day for EF long with Simon Clarke.

Trek have three riders in the 33-rider attack: Jasper Stuyvens, Toms Skujiņš and Bauke Mollema.

"The best outcome would be to have several teammates with you, then be the strongest on the climb, drop everyone, go full gas on the downhill and win alone," Skujiņš suggested to Eurosport.

"During the day you need to see who is the strongest. You have to hope you’re good enough to drop them or follow them and then beat them in the sprint," he added. 

34km remaining from 200km

Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin) attacks first to try to split the break. 

Thomas de Gendt is with him. Race on!

30km remaining from 200km

Ben King goes and others come across.

Van Avermaet is there too. 

A group has 15 seconds on the others.

27km remaining from 200km

Most of the strong men of the 33 re up front, including Trentin, van Avermaet, Oss, King, Skujiņš and others.

The riders missing out on the move include Costa, Clarke, De Gendt and Boasson Hagen. 

22km remaining from 200km

20km remaining from 200km

Gougeard drops back from the break, so the leading group is down to 10 riders.

Scully is there for EF. 

The ten riders on the attack are: Oss, Asgreen, Izagirre, Scully, Trentin, Van Avermaet, Laengen, Skujins, Périchon and King.

The third-category Col de la Sentinelle is a dozen kilometres from the finish and so about to start.

The organisers' choice of the Sentinelle may be a consequence of the Manse's tendency to produce an unexpected twist in the GC battle.

The climb is about to start and an attacks has split the group even more.

14km remaining from 200km

Now Trentin goes solo! He's trying to get a lead. 

Trentin has his jersey open as he tries to open a gap on the lower slopes of the 5.2% climb. 

12km remaining from 200km

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10km remaining from 200km

Trentin holds his tongue out. He wants a bidon.

Asgreen attacks from the chase group but he's left it late.

8km remaining from 200km

Asgreen has caught Perichon. Wow, that was a  quick step and jump. 

Here's Trentin on the attack alone. 

6km remaining from 200km

The peloton is 18 minutes back and so has still to start the final climb.

3km remaining from 200km

Trentin has closed his jersey and is time trialing to the finish. Asgreen is not closing the gap, indeed, he's losing time.

Asgreen was second at the Tour of Flanders and is again showing his talents.

1km remaining from 200km

This is his third Tour de France stage victory.

Trentin eases up and celebrates his solo victory in Gap.

Asgreen takes second at 36 seconds.

Van Avermaet brings home the others to take third but he won't be happy.

Trentin waves to the crowd in celebration and also takes several drinks. It was hot out there. 

This is the top ten for the stage: 

This image sums up Greg van Avermaet's day: a huge effort for little reward. 

"Today was all in: everything or nothing," Trentin explained. 

Meanwhile, the GC peloton is 9km from the finish. They are at least 18 minutes back. 

Julian Alaphilippe is up front to avoid any attacks and risks on the descent.

"I was scared of Asgreen and I was right because he finished second after getting a free ride in the break," Trentin explained.

"There was a headwind on the climb but I got up it well. I was always up there in this Tour but never got the results. This win makes up for it all. I had good legs but never finished it off. Today was: "all in:  everything or nothing."  

The GC riders are 4km from the finish after safely descending towards Gap.   

Alaphilippe is in second place, tucked behind  teammate.

The Alaphilippe peloton crosses the line 20:10 down on Trentin. 

Xandro Meurisse (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) finished 20th on the stage but he was well placed overall and so moved up into the top 20 with the peloton so far back. 

Another group comes into the finish, 26 minutes down. However due to the heat, the time limit has been calculated on the peloton today, rather than the stage winner.

Sagan rolls home, waving to the crowds. 

Yesterday's winner Caleb Ewan also crosses the line.

This is the moment Trentin won in Gap. 

Here Trentin celebrates his win and walks to the podium area. 

Julian Alaphilippe climbs on the podium and waves to the crowd. 

This is the new GC after stage 17.

As expected, Meurisse moved up from 19th to 13th overall. He is now 11:08 down on Alaphilippe. 

For the full stage results, our growing photo gallery and a superb full stage report by Barry Ryan, click here.

This was Matteo Trentin's third stage victory at the Tour de France. He won in Lyon in 2013 and Nancy in  2014.

As the riders head to their hotels around Gap, all thoughts turn to the Alpine stages and the fight for the yellow jersey.

We've hoovered up the best quotes from the finish line to get the inside story on the stage. 

It was a hot day out there. 

That was Vegard Stake Laengen after being in the break and finishing 14th. 

He said post stage: 

Regarding the race for GC, Ineos team manager Dave Brailsford believes that two races are going in in this year’s Tour: the first of which revolves around dismantling Alaphilippe’s GC lead, while the second centres on what he sees as the battle for victory from behind between the more experienced contenders.

Team Ineos doesn't have the yellow jersey but has Thomas second 1:35 down on race leader Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep), with Egan Bernal hovering in fifth at 2:02.

This is the profile of stage 18 to Valloire. 

Our stage preview text calls it the stairway to heaven stage.

Approached from Saint-Paul-sur-Ubaye, the first in that triptych is not especially long, but becomes extremely difficult after the brief plateau at its halfway point. The Izoard has a similar profile but, at 14.1km, is a good deal longer and climbs significantly higher. Its final 7km, which include the passage through the magnificent Casse Déserte, average 9%.

As with every stage, we'll have full live coverage of all the action, plus special content, interviews and previews from our reporters on the road: Editor Daniel Benson, Alasdair Fotheringham and Patrick Fletcher.

There's been quite a kerfuffle over the argy-bargy between Luke Rowe and Tony Martin.

Team Ineos said they were looking to appeal against Luke Rowe's expulsion from Tour de France

Rowe and Tony Martin apologised for Tour de France incident in joint statement in a video

The incident overshadowed a fine victory by Matteo Trentin

You can view the video highlights from the stage here

With that done, we'll look ahead to the three big stages in the Alps, where Julian Alaphilippe will attempt to defend his race lead.

Follow again on Thursday for the most critical stage of the race for Alaphilippe. Cyclingnews will have full coverage all day long. Thanks for reading!

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