Tour De France Stage 17 Bagneres-De-Luchon -  Peyragudes

20/07/2012   |   Posted by jeremy

Stage 17 Bagneres-de-Luchon  -  Peyragudes 143.5km.

Yesterday’s stage was the last day in the mountains of the Pyrenees. It was also the last chance for Vincenzo Nibali to attack Bradley Wiggins and try and take the yellow jersey.

It looked like it was going to be a tough day all round with five climbs, two of them category 1 and an HC or out of category climb.

On the first climb of the day it was Thomas Voeckler and Fredrik Kessiakoff who were going head to head to reach the top of the climb. The king of the mountains jersey was still up for grabs as Voeckler only had a 4 point lead and with 62 points still available, it was by no means a forgone conclusion. As they raced up the mountain towards the fog covered summit, it was Voeckler who kicked and took the climb to increase his lead over the Swede.

On the descent of the Col de Mente a strong group of 8 riders went off from the main bunch. They were hoping to make a breakaway stick, but their plans were put into jeopardy when on to the back of them came Vincenzo Nibali. This was potentially bad news for the breakaway.

 Because Nibali was third place man overall, the Peloton would have to give chase to catch him, thereby also catching the breakaway and spoiling any chance of one of them winning a stage. Alejandro Valverde of Movistar was not a happy man and was talking to Nibali on the descent. Now I don’t know what was said exactly but I’m sure Valverde got his point across because a slightly strange but very gentlemanly thing happened. Valverde and Nibali shook hands before he sat up, slowed down to wait for the Peloton, who were some 26 seconds behind, to catch him up.

He could have stayed with the lead bunch as he had every right to do and who knows what may have happened if they had stayed out front. But he did the right thing by the lead group and for that I give him a lot of respect. He was then taken back into the Peloton.

On the second climb of the day, the Col des Ares, it was again a fight between Voeckler and Kessiakoff, Voeckler winning again. The result on the third climb was also the same as the first two, despite Kessiakoff trying his best to kick away from Voeckler.

At a feed station 54km from the finish, there was an incident that saw Mark Cavendish and Richie Porte hit the deck. Neither of them was badly hurt and both carried on to catch up with the main group.

On the big climb of the day, The Port de Bales it was Rui Costa of Movistar that pulled away from the leading group. He was joined by his team mate Alejandro Valverde, in a kind of one two move.  Back in the yellow jersey group it was Liquigas that were leading the way. Valverde was making good progress and was the first man over the top for 25 points.

It was the last climb of the day and Wiggins was sitting where he needed to be, with no drama. It wasn’t the biggest climb of the day but it was going to test them all. Ivan Basso was leading Liquigas ahead of the main field and Valverde was still right out front going for a stage win. Cadel Evans’ Tour was going from bad to worse as he struggled to stay with the bunch. He has apparently been struck with a stomach bug so this was explaining his lack of form. Valverde was first over the top again and was descending fast before the road kicked up again for the last part of the climb to the finish. There was plenty of support from the Spanish fans at the roadside as he made his way to the finish line.

Back in the yellow jersey group Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins were starting to ride away from the others, even Vincenzo Nibali was starting to get dropped at this point. It looked like Sky may have been going for a stage win, with Froome looking like the much faster man on the climb. Wiggins was starting to grimace as the pace quickened but Froome decided to stay with his team mate, encouraging him to stay with him.

 The last kilometre of the stage was flat and Valverde was alone as he raced to the line to take the victory. Shortly after it was Froome followed by Wiggins, to almost certainly seal his Tour de France win.

Today’s stage is much flatter but it is a long one at 222.5km. After that we have the time trial on Saturday before the run in to Paris on Sunday which is traditionally not contested as a race stage. So stay cool Wiggo and try not to get into any sticky situations.

 

 

Rank

Name

Team

Time

1

Bradley Wiggins

Team Sky

78hrs 28mins 02secs

2

Chris Froome

Team Sky

+2mins 05secs

3

Vincenzo Nibali

Liquigas-Cannondale

+2mins 41secs

4

Jurgen Van Den Broeck

Lotto-Belisol

+5mins 53secs

5

Tejay Van Garderen

BMC Racing

+8mins 30secs

6

Cadel Evans

BMC Racing

+9mins 57secs

7

Haimar Zubeldia

RadioShack-Nissan

+10mins 11secs

8

Pierre Rolland

Europcar

+10mins 17secs

9

Janez Brajkovic

Astana

+11mins 00secs

10

Thibaut Pinot

FDJ-BigMat

+11mins 46secs

Comments