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Gallery: Pogačar says bye and hi to teammates as he track sprints to Stage 17 victory

20 Jul 2022

Stage 17 of the 2022 Tour de France was all about UAE Team Emirates as Tadej Pogačar outsprinted Jonas Vingegaard on the steep ramps of Peyragudes for the win.

At just 129.7km, it was the shortest non-TT and non-procession stage of this year's race and that meant forming the breakaway was difficult.

Attacks went from the gun but nothing was sticking. The situation wasn't helped by Jumbo-Visma's reduced squad not wanting to control the race but they weren't the only ones.

Pogačar lost another two teammates overnight with Marc Soler a DNF yesterday and Rafał Majka tearing a muscle on Stage 16 as his chain broke on the final climb.

That meant UAE Team Emirates were down to just Pogačar, Brandon McNulty, Mikkel Bjerg and Marc Hirschi. And who knows when Hirschi was last spotted on camera.

A break did eventually get up the road on the day's first climb Col d'Aspin but with almost half the day already gone by then it was never going to stick over the three other ascents that were to follow.

It seemed like a matter of when Pogačar would attack, but he deployed what was left of his team to do the damage first.

Bjerg – not a climber – absolutely decimated most of the peloton and brought back the breakaway on the first pair of ascents before Brandon McNulty – who is more at home uphill – took over.

McNulty then rode everyone apart from his team leader and Jonas Vingegaard off his wheel before Pogačar attacked just as they were reaching the summit of the penultimate climb, the Col de Val Louron-Azet.

With only about 50 metres of climbing, it was over pretty quickly with Vingegaard easily finding Pogačar's wheels, and there was no attack on the descent, so McNulty soon caught them.

The final climb to Peyragudes seemed sure to be where Pogačar would put in more of an effort, however McNulty ended up pacing the white and yellow jerseys right up to the steep final drag at the altiport.

With gradients of around 16% it may have been the steepest track sprint of all time as Pogačar increased his pace before slowing almost to a halt for Vingegaard to make his move.

Pogi then put the hammer down and came round his Danish nemesis, taking his third stage win of the race and – via the bonuses – four extra seconds on GC. He now has one final mountain stage and a time-trial to make up 2:18 on Vingegaard.

Here are the highlights from a short but sweet Stage 17 via Godingimages.

The new Avengers line-up is getting weird. At least they kept The Hulk.

Dylan van Baarle and Connor Swift were two of the early breakaway occupants. Is this the Pyrenees or Paris-Roubaix?

That's more like it. The last break survivors were Alexey Lutsenko and Thibaut Pinot.

And of course polka dot jersey Simon Geschke gave it a bash. He's only got one stage to fight for, but it's not sewn up yet. Big climbs await.

Scenery was nice.

Wout van Aert wrapped up the green jersey, so as long as he makes it to Paris that's one in the bag for Jumbo-Visma.

Brandon McNulty did big time damage. We've not seen much of him this Tour but he's clearly been resting up for when his number was called. Impressive ride.

It won him the combativity award for the day too.

Vingegaard looked completely in his comfort zone all day, and even showed Pogačar and McNulty up on the final descent with his cornering.

Tom Pidcock blew up early today, as did teammate Adam Yates, they're now 15th and 9th respectively. Rough.

Geraint Thomas rode well though and was the best of the rest. He still lost a further two minutes to the top two though.

Anyone who argues summit finishes aren't the best way to end mountain stages need to take a long hard look at themselves.

A statement win even if it didn't amount to much GC gain.

They both looked exhausted. It would be surprising if it's not another stalemate on Friday. Although Vingegaard is clearly stronger, Pogačar's kick remains deadly.

Behind, Fabio Jakobsen came over the line just 17 seconds inside the time limit, cheered on by his teammates.

Chapeau Fabio. 

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