Five talking points from stage 17 of the Tour de France
Roglic takes it in style, Kittel breaks, Contador gives it one last throw of the dice and more talking points from stage 17 of the Tour de France
Primoz Roglic wins in style
Taking his maiden Tour de France stage win, Slovenian rider Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) did it in style with a well timed attack that saw him descend from the peak of the Galibier to victory alone.
As well as hunting for the last KOM points of the day, Roglic attacked to take the maximum points but was able to find himself alone and with 1-30 to play with over 27km to the finish.
With the sweeping bends laid out in front of him, Roglic held every line perfectly with his lead never dipping below 1-15.
Never looking in doubt, the former ski jumper arrived onto the flat before the flamme rouge and time trialled himself to Tour de France glory.
Roglic certainly opened a few eyes with a stage win with a fine display of climbing, adding a second Grand Tour stage win to the victory he took in the Giro d’Italia in 2016.
Marcel Kittel breaks
Marcel Kittel followed in the footsteps of Tom Boonen and Alessandro Petacchi and withdrew from the Tour with the green jersey on his back after crashing in the first 20km of the race.
The German sprinter was up against it after he’d struggled for the past couple of days on the categorised climbs.
Green jersey rival, Michael Matthews, was the opposing image, showing determination to fight back against Kittel. His determination paid off having successfully reduced the points competition to just nine points before the German abandoned.
Kittel had planned to be up the road so he could at least contend with Matthews but the early crash caused the Quick-Step rider to rethink his place. After riding for nearly half the stage Kittel conceded defeat to Matthews and called it a race.
Fabio Aru falters as Rigoberto Uran edges into second
On a day when he would’ve wanted to be in the thick of things, Fabio Aru took a step back in his fight for the yellow jersey.
The Italian champion had been in the fight for most of the day but as the ride edged closer to the summit of the Galibier, Aru started to suffer.
Repeated attacks from Dan Martin saw Aru falter and drop off before regaining contact. Fighting to get back on time and time again, there was a possibility that Aru could potentially hold on but as the group prepared to climb over the top, he was left behind.
Teaming up with the man who had attacked him on the previous climb, and Alberto Contador, Aru struggled in vain as he fought to reel in the rest of the GC group.
Down the road Chris Froome, Romain Bardet and Rigoberto Uran drove the pace to try and gain on Primoz Roglic. Despite failing in that endeavour, Uran powered through to take six bonus seconds that saw him move into second place while Froome took four to consolidate his lead.
Alberto Contador gave it one last roll of the dice
In true Alberto Contador fashion, the Spaniard gave it his all as he threw his hat into the ring for the day’s glory.
122km out Contador attacked trying to bridge a group that was nearly six minutes ahead.
Unperturbed, the Trek-Segafredo rider gave it his all and in the process dropped Nairo Quintana (Movistar) leaving just himself to power up the Croix de Fer.
El Pistolero’s confidence was repaid as he found himself in the front group with the race heading up the Col du Télégraph and onwards to the Col du Galibier.
The day’s eventual winner had other ideas though as Roglic broke from the group. Contador tried to follow and did an incredible job but by the peak he was caught by a rapid yellow jersey group and found himself fighting to get back on.
In what could be his last Tour de France, Contador showed that he’s still prepared to lose it all in order to win it.
Warren Barguil can’t relax just yet
Having hoped to wrap up the polka dot jersey competition today, Warren Barguil seemed a shoe in for the points on offer.
However, the Tour de France had other ideas with a crash 20km into the day’s racing.
Barguil had avoided being seriously hurt but the hold up meant that he missed out on the day’s early break for points.
With De Gendt and Roglic both breathing down his neck it was important for the Frenchman to get back on.
Thankfully, with Matthews up the road and a late fight back to take points on the Galibier, Barguil could focus on finishing off the competition on stage 18.
Roglic wanted to spoil the fun though by taking maximum points on the day’s final climb and with only 49 points now separating the two, the 58 points on offer in the final mountain stage on Thursday will be more closely fought than Barguil would’ve liked.