2017 Tour de France

Stage 11: Eymet to Pau

Wednesday, July 12, 7:05 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. ET

Stage 11 heads toward the Pyrenees via the Landes and the Gers. Following a beautiful tradition, the route passes through Labastide-d’Armagnac, home of the Notre-Dame-des-Cyclistes chapel. The saint is a beneficent protector to whom the sprinters will doubtless be dedicating their prayers. Indeed, this stage has been specially designed for the fast men, who arrive into Pau on flat roads.

Stage 11: Kittel spoils Bodnar breakaway for fifth win

Marcel Kittel
Marcel Kittel extended his lead in the green jersey competition with a fifth stage win in stage 11. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Off the front for all 203.5 kilometers of stage 11, Maciej Bodnar came up 350 meters short of a solo victory Wednesday in Pau. Instead, the peloton swept past Bora-Hansgrohe’s hard-man, and Quick-Step’s Marcel Kittel won his fifth stage of this Tour de France. LottoNL-Jumbo’s Dylan Groenewegen collected another podium result, finishing second. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) was third.

“It’s incredible because, you know sometimes when you’re on your top level, your top game in the sprint it’s like playing Tetris,” said Kittel. “All lines were perfect, all the sprinting lines, that today I could jump from wheel to wheel. It’s incredible.”

Chris Froome kept his overall lead, again finishing comfortably in the peloton on the flat stage.

Stage 11, top 10

1. Marcel Kittel (GER/QST) in 4h34:27.
2. Dylan Groenewegen (NED/LNL) at 0:00.
3. Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR/DDT) 0:00.
4. Michael Matthews (AUS/SUN) 0:00.
5. Daniel McLay (GBR/TFO) 0:00.
6. Davide Cimolai (ITA/FDJ) 0:00.
7. André Greipel (GER/LOT) 0:00.
8. Nacer Bouhanni (FRA/COF) 0:00.
9. Ben Swift (GBR/EAU) 0:00.
10. Danilo Wyss (SUI/BMC) 0:00.

Top-10 overall

1. Christopher Froome (GBR/Sky) in 47h01:55.
2. Fabio Aru (ITA/AST) at 0:18.
3. Romain Bardet (FRA/ALM) 0:51.
4. Rigoberto Uran (COL/CAN) 0:55.
5. Jakob Fuglsang (DEN/AST) 1:37.
6. Daniel Martin (EIR/QST) 1:44.
7. Simon Yates (GBR/ORI) 2:02.
8. Nairo Quintana (COL/MOV) 2:13.
9. Mikel Landa (ESP/SKY) 3:06.
10. George Bennett (NZL/LNL) 3:53.

Two other riders joined Bodnar from the gun, Marco Marcato (UAE Team Emirates) and Frederik Backaert (Wanty-Groupe Gobert). They had a maximum lead of four and a half minutes but that was down to 30 seconds when Bodnar set off alone with 28km left.

In the final kilometer, Bodnar clung to a slight lead. The peloton had the 32-year-old Pole in sight.

With 350 meters to go, as Quick-Step’s Fabio Sabatini wound up the sprint, they caught Bodnar.

“I am disappointed about this,” Bodnar said. “I was only 450m. Maybe it wasn’t my best day. I wanted to do it for Bora, for Rafa [Majka], for Peter [Sagan], for my dad, who is dead. It was not meant to be. I am not so happy about today. I can be happy about my legs, but not about the result. I was 200km in the legs. All day in the front. Just 200m short of victory. Losing Peter Sagan is not easy for us. Same with Rafa. We are a strong team. We are still a good team. We are trying. We are now only six riders. We will try every day something to do.”

For a moment, Boasson Hagen had a clear shot at the line. But Kittel worked his magic yet again.

The German sprinter, wearing a green skinsuit with a comfortable lead in the points classification, made his jump from about eight riders back. It seemed like he had too much ground to make up in the final 200 meters.

Kittel popped into Michael Matthew’s slipstream for a moment. Then, he burst clear on the Sunweb rider’s left side.

Groenewegen clung to Kittel’s wheel but had no chance of passing in the final 50 meters.

Boasson Hagen rued his early acceleration, pounding the bars as Kittel saluted the crowd with one arm.

“I’m speechless, I’m super-pumped,” said Kittel. “It’s perfect at the moment.”

After a couple days of detente, the GC riders will battle again in stage 12. The 214.5km stage takes on six categorized climbs with a summit finish at Peyragudes.

Unfortunately, three top riders crashed in stage 11, and it remains to be seen how that will affect them on Thursday. Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale), Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), and Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) all went down but they did not lose time in the overall.

Tour de France, stage 11: Aru signs autographs
Fabio Aru (Astana) has stated that Chris Froome (Sky) is stronger but that the race is not over and anything can happen. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
Tour de France, stage 11: Froome in yellow
Froome started another day in yellow. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
Tour de France, stage 11: Vermote on the front
Julien Vermote and other Quick-Step riders worked at the front to bring back the break and set up their sprinter Marcel Kittel. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
Tour de France, stage 11: Bardet
Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) was one of three GC riders to take a spill on stage 11. Bardet caught back on after the crash and did not lose any time on the stage. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
Tour de France, stage 11: Breakaway
A three-man breakaway had as much as a four and half minute lead on the peloton. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
Tour de France, stage 11: Team Astana
Team Astana rode as a group on stage 11 but Jacob Fuglsang was involved in a crash and received medical attention to his left wrist. Later it was revealed that he had two minor fractures. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
Tour de France, stage 11: Contador
Trek-Segafredo’s Alberto Contador also crashed just outside 20 kilometers to go and chased back on to join the peloton before the finish in Pau. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
Tour de France, stage 11: Crazy fans
This roadside display of enthusiasm may have brought up the pace in the peloton just a bit. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
Tour de France, stage 11: Bahrain-Merida crash
Bahrain-Merida’s Yukiya Arashiro and Sonny Colbrelli were caught up in a crash on stage 11. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
Tour de France, stage 11: Bouhanni takes the start
Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) was penalized after stage 10 for hitting a Quick-Step rider before the sprint. His frustrations continued on stage 11 where he finished in eighth place. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
Tour de France, stage 11: Bodnar solo
With 28 kilometers to go Maciej Bodnar pushed on alone trying to grab a victory for the depleted Bora-Hansgrohe team. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
Tour de France, stage 11: Fans in Pau
The fans were ready for an exciting finish in Pau. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
Tour de France, stage 11: Sprint in Pau
Bodnar was caught by the peloton with 350 meters to go and the sprint was on. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
Tour de France, stage 11: Kittel wins again
Kittel compared his stage 11 victory where he jumped from wheel to wheel to playing a game of Tetris. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
Tour de France, stage 11: Kittel podium
Marcel Kittel got his fifth win of the 2017 Tour de France on stage 11 in Pau. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
Tour de France, stage 11: Froome podium
Chris Froome finished with the bunch and held onto the yellow jersey for another day his 51st career day in yellow. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com