Tour De France Review – Stage 17: Digne-les-Bains to Pra Loup

The first day after the rest day and into the High-Apls the Tour went. The day started with a frenetic pace and after several attempts a large break of about 27 riders got away. It was from this break that today’s winner came.

Simon Geschke (Giant-Alpecin) attacked his breakaway companions as they approached the foot of the category 1 Col d’Allos. The German managed to stay ahead of Cannondale-Garmin’s Andrew Talansky and Etixx – Quick-Step’s Rigoberto Urán who completed the final two spots on the podium.

Simon Geschke (Giant-Alpecin) - Stage 17 Winner

Stage Highlights:

  • The first day in the Alps and despite the rest day yesterday, there was no shortage of drama today. Simon Geschke (TGA) produced the performance of his life, with an impressive win on terrain he is not renowned for. Then there was bad luck for Tejay van Garderen (BMC), who retired through illness, as well as for Alberto Contador (TCS), who crashed and lost over three minutes.
  • The consistency of race leader Chris Froome (SKY) has been incredible thus far and he appears to be coping well with the pressure of the yellow jersey. He has been attacked and attacked again yet seemingly nobody has been able to “break” him.   
  • The young French rider, Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), proved he climbs like a mountain goat but then once again highlighted that his ability to descend fast enough is limited – when he crashed on the descent of the Col d’Allos, trying to chase down stage winner Geshcke (TGA).
  • Team MTN-Qhubeka won the team competition again today; one cannot fault their commitment and determination to be the best they can.

Day in data:

  • Stage 17 – the first of four Alpine stages, in the 102nd Tour de France, covering a distance of 161 km from Digne-Les-Bains (13th time stage town) to Pra Loup (3rd time stage town).
  • 2250 m – altitude of the Col d’Allos, the highest summit in this year’s Tour de France. A hard climb with a very technical descent before the climb to the finish in Pra Loup.
  • 8.5% – steepest gradient on Col d’Allos.
  • 3 – the number of Alpine summit finishes this years’ Tour de France, the most since 1996.
  • 168 riders started today with 163 finishing the stage.
  • 2815.8 km – the distance Le Tour riders have travelled from the start in Utrecht.
  • 44.82 km/h – speed of winner in the intermediate sprint, Vaugrenard (FDJ).
  • 3 – the number of Alpine summit finishes this year, the most since 1996.
  • 1 – a first time summit of the Col de Colle-Saint-Michel for Le Tour.
  • 104 – Green Jersey points difference between Sagan (TCS) with 420 points and Greipel (LTS) on 316 points.
  • 2nd place – current position of MTN-Qhubeka in the Teams competition – the first ever African team to compete in Le Tour. Movistar leads the Teams competition.
  • Distance and average gradients of the five categorized climbs today:
    – 6 km at 5.3% – Col des Lèques (cat 3) at km 40
    – 6.1 km at 3.1% – Col de Toutes Aures (cat 3) at km 67
    – 11 km at 5.2% – Col de la Colle-Saint-Michel (cat 2) at km 96
    – 14 km at 5.5% – Col d’Allos (cat 1) at km 139
    – 6.2 km at 6.5% – Pra Loup (cat 2) at km 161
  • 59.29 km/h – average speed on the descent from Col de la Colle-Saint-Michel.
  • 35.48 km/h – the average speed on the stage.
  • 37’ 09” – the time gap between the first and last rider.

Stage Winner:

GER | Simon Geschke | TGA
Stage time: 04h 12′ 17”
Average speed: 38.29 km/h
Speed across finish line: 15.66 km/h
Average speed up Col d’Allos: 21.98 km/h
Average speed on the descent of Col d’Allos: 52.58 km/h

Overall Jersey Leaders:

yellowJersey_sGBR | Chris Froome – SKY | 69h 06’49”

GreenJerseyNew_SSVK | Peter Sagan – TCS | 420 points

whiteJersey_sCOL | Nairo Alexander Quintana – MOV | 69h 09′ 59″

PolkaDotJersey_sGBR | Chris Froome – SKY | 61 points

Today saw some sporadic attacks from Nibali and Quintana on Froome but none stuck. The only thing that happend was that Contador overcooked it and crashed.

What will tomorrow’s stage from Gap to Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne hold for us? Looking at the stage profile it looks like a horror movie (Saw to be precise). Seven categorised climbs await the riders, three category 3, three category 2 and a category H. The final climb of the day comes after the category H Col du Glandon (1 924 m). Lacets de Montvernier (782 m) is a 3.4 kilometre-long climb at an average of 8.2%.

It will be an epic battle tomorrow!

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