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Primoz Roglic wins mountainous Stage 17 of 2017 Tour de France as Froome increases lead

Pete Muir
19 Jul 2017

Froome protects yellow jersey after a big day in the Alps

Slovenian rider Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) soloed to his first stage win at his first Tour de France on a mountainous stage in the French Alps.

After getting into an early break, he managed to attack the rest of the bunch alongside Alberto Contador on the slopes of the Col du Galibier, before dropping the Spaniard and heading alone onto the final descent.

Despite a charging group of GC favourites chasing close behind, he managed to hold them off all the way to the finish line at Serre Chavalier to win by 1 minute 13 seconds.

Behind him was a five-man group headed home by Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac), ahead of Chris Froome (Team Sky), Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale), Warren Barguil (Team Sunweb) and Mikel Landa (Team Sky).

Losing time, Astana’s Fabio Aru came in among the third group on the road, another 32 seconds down on Froome.

As a result, Froome extended his GC lead to 27 seconds over Uran and Bardet, the Colombian having pulled level with Bardet thanks to his six-second time bonus on the line.

How Stage 17 of the Tour de France panned out

It was always going to be one of the most dramatic days of the Tour. The 183km route included ascents of the Col d’Ornon, the Col de la Croix de Fer, the Col du Télégraphe, and the 2,642m Col du Galibier, finishing with a 28km downhill dash to the line at Serre Chevalier.

With less that 30 seconds separating the top four riders on GC at the beginning of the stage, there was plenty of reason for the big names to go on the attack, which meant all the teams were on their guard from the gun.

The chaos started just 20km into the race when a crash in the pack allowed a break of 33 riders to get away. Green jersey-wearer Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors) was one of the victims of the crash, getting fairly torn up but managing to continue. However, his main rival in the points competition, Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb), pushed hard to get into the break.

As a result, Matthews took the only sprint points of the day, at 47km into the race, to come within just nine points of Kittel.

As always, Team Sky aimed to control the race and protect Chris Froome’s slender lead over his rivals. With only 18 seconds on Aru, 23 seconds on Bardet, and 29 seconds on Uran, Froome was wary of attacks and put his Sky train to work at the front of the peloton to discourage any unauthorised breakaways.

At the head of the race, Matthews and Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) moved ahead of the breakaway group and gained a couple of minutes on the others, leading over the Col d’Ornon and maintaining the gap on the ascent of the Col de la Croix de Fer.

Back in the peloton, both Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) decided to have some fun and possibly go for a stage win. With both riders out of contention for the GC (each being more than six minutes down on Froome), they were allowed to get a gap of about 30 seconds before Quintana cracked and Contador went off on his own.

Team Sky, meanwhile, burned off several domestiques while maintaining a high pace on the Croix de Fer, which had the effect of shattering the peloton and leaving riders all over the road with 120km still to go.

Eventually, Contador managed to latch onto the main breakaway group, which by this point was around three minutes ahead of the peloton (apparently, Contador’s ascent of the Croix de Fer was the fastest ever at 57 minutes 50 seconds). Out ahead of the main break, Matthews and De Gendt were joined by Daniel Navarro (Cofidis). The sprinter Matthews was soon dropped by the other two, who went on to lead over the top of the Croix de Fer.

On the descent, Contador’s Trek-Segafredo team pulled back the two leaders and pushed the pace of the breakaway group to maintain a three-minute lead over the peloton at the base of the Télégraphe.

Meanwhile, suffering from his injuries after the earlier crash, Marcel Kittel abandoned the race, leaving Michael Matthews to inherit the green jersey without the much–anticipated battle for the points competition on the Champs-Élysées on Sunday.

By the top of the Télégraphe the gap between the break and the peloton had stretched to just under four minutes.

Once onto the final climb of the Galibier, Contador rode away from the rest of the break, taking Serge Pauwels (Dimension Data) and Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) with him. Behind them, Team Sky powered on at the head of the peloton, driven by Michal Kwiatkowski, with Mikel Nieve, Mikel Landa and Chris Froome on his wheel.

By 9km to the summit of the Galibier, the pace of Team Sky had whittled the yellow jersey group down to just 13 riders, including all the main GC contenders.

Attacks on the Galibier

With 6km to go to the summit, the attacks started coming. Roglic rode away from the Contador group, quickly putting 30 seconds into the pursuers. At the same time Dan Martin (Quick-Step Floors), who lost a lot of time in the previous stage to drop out of the top five, attacked the main peloton, but only managed to gain a few seconds before being closed down by Mikel Landa and the tiny group of remaining favourites.

As soon as Martin was brought back, Barguil took off up the road in search of more King of the Mountains points.

With 3.5km to the top, Romain Bardet attacked, followed quickly by Froome and Uran. This left Fabio Aru stranded, but he managed to drag himself back to the group, before Bardet attacked again.

Landa (who at times looked to be stronger than Froome) continued to monitor all attacks on behalf of his team leader. Another attack from Dan Martin was enough to distance Aru again, but he once more dragged himself back to the group of leaders.

At the front, Roglic increased his lead to 1 minute 30 over Contador, and he lead the race over the summit and onto the final 28km descent.

The yellow jersey group (with Aru clinging on for dear life) managed to catch Contador just before the summit, and the big names all hit the descent together.

As a former ski jumper, Primoz Roglic showed no fear on the steep slopes and managed to hold off the chase of Froome, Uran, Bardet and Barguil and Landa. Following close behind them were Aru, Martin, Contador and three others, with Orica-Scott’s Simon Yates another 40 seconds behind them.

Roglic ultimately made it look easy as he crossed the line with 1 minute 13 seconds to spare. Uran's second place and the six-second time bonus that came with it means he's now level on time with Bardet, who initially led the sprint out, but Froome will have been more than happy with third as it saw the Team Sky rider picking up a four-second bonus himself.

Tour de France 2017: Stage 17, La Mure - Serre-Chevalier (183km), result

1. Primož Roglič (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo, in 5:07:41
2. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac, at 1:13
3. Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky, at same time
4. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale, st
5. Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Sunweb, st
6. Mikel Landa (Esp) Team Sky, at 1:16
7. Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors, at 1:43
8. Alberto Contador (Esp) Trek-Segafredo, at 1:44
9. Louis Meintjes (RSA) UAE Team Emirates, at same time
10. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana, st

Tour de France 2017: General classification top 10 after Stage 17

1. Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky, in 73:27:26
2. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac, at 0:27
3. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale, at 0:27
4. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana, at 0:53
5. Mikel Landa (Esp) Team Sky, at 1:24
6. Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors, at 2:37
7. Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott, at 4:07
8. Louis Meintjes (RSA) UAE Team Emirates, at 6:35
9. Alberto Contador (Esp) Trek-Segafredo, at 7:45
10. Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Sunweb, at 8:52

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