The contenders for the yellow jersey believe Thursday's finishing climb will likely determine who wins the Tour de France.
Showcasing everything from high mountain stages in the Alps and Pyrénées to high-speed sprint finishes like the final day on the Champs-Élysées, the Tour de France is the season’s biggest race.
The Tour has been held annually in July since 1903, when it was first organized by Henri Desgrange, a charismatic editor at French newspaper L’Auto. Though the race was not run during the two World Wars, it remains the “Grande Boucle,” the oldest, most prestigious of the three-week grand tours.
In addition to individual wins in the Tour’s 21 stages, riders vie for three coveted jerseys: yellow for the overall winner on time, green for the best rider in the points classification (ordinarily a sprinter), and polka-dot for the best climber, who collects the most points on the route’s biggest ascents. Prizes are also awarded for the best overall team, based on cumulative time, and the most aggressive rider, which is decided by a race jury.
Four riders have won the Tour overall a record five times each: France’s Jacques Anquetil, Belgian Eddy Merckx, Frenchman Bernard Hinault, and Miguel Indurain of Spain. Although American Lance Armstrong finished first in seven Tours, he was stripped of those yellow jerseys after confessing to doping.
The 2017 Tour de France has seen eight first-time stage winners and the emergence of a few smaller teams, a treat for cycling fans.
Fabio Aru and his Astana team recognize that the Tour's yellow jersey may be out of reach but promise a fight on the Izoard in stage 18.
Rigoberto Urán's tactical wisdom helps the Colombian slip onto the Tour podium in the race's penultimate mountain stage.
Team Sky imposed its will on the peloton in stage 17, escorting Chris Froome over the Telegraph and Galibier to protect the yellow jersey.
Kittel was leading the points competition and had won five stages before he exited.
With three riders within 29 seconds of Chris Froome, the Sky riders hope to keep their leader in yellow as the race hits the Alps.
Insiders suggest that Alberto Contador may end his Tour de France career this week with a potential Giro/Vuelta plan for 2018.
BrakeThrough Media has an unusual opportunity to photograph the Tour de France on the lonely Mur de Péguère.
The race for the Tour's green jersey pits two very different sprinters: Michael Matthews and Marcel Kittel. Can Kittel hang on to the lead?