Wednesday, July 19, 6:20 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. ET
The race reaches the Alps at last! It’s hard to know how the GC will stand, but if it remains a tight battle, then the favorites will do battle in the high mountains. There are some classics on the day’s agenda: the Croix de Fer, Télégraphe, and Galibier passes, the last being the highest point of this race (2,642 meters). Then comes the descent into Serre-Chevalier.
Stage 17: Former ski-jumper Roglic solos to maiden Tour win
Once a junior world ski-jumping champion, Primoz Roglic has arrived in the Tour de France, winning his maiden stage Wednesday in Serre-Chevalier. It was also the first Tour win for his LottoNL-Jumbo team. Rigoberto Uràn finished second to collect a six-second time bonus. Sky’s Chris Froome kept the yellow jersey, riding to third behind the Cannondale-Drapac Colombian.
“Crazy eh? Incredible, eh? This stage on the Galibier … No words. Crazy,” Roglic said after stage 17.
Although Froome kept his lead, Fabio Aru (Astana) slipped in the overall from second to forth, now 53 seconds behind. Uràn moved up to second, and Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) kept his third-place standing — both are 27 seconds back.
Top 10, stage 17
1. Primoz Roglic (SLO/LNL) in 5h07:41.
2. Rigoberto Uran (COL/CAN) at 1:13.
3. Christopher Froome (GBR/SKY) 1:13.
4. Romain Bardet (FRA/ALM) 1:13.
5. Warren Barguil (FRA/SUN) 1:13.
6. Mikel Landa (ESP/SKY) 1:16.
7. Daniel Martin (EIR/QST) 1:43.
8. Alberto Contador (ESP/TRE) 1:44.
9. Louis Meintjes (RSA/EAU) 1:44.
10. Fabio Aru (ITA/AST) 1:44.
1. Christopher Froome (GBR/Sky) in 73h27:26.
2. Rigoberto Uran (COL/CAN) at 0:27.
3. Romain Bardet (FRA/ALM) 0:27.
4. Fabio Aru (ITA/AST) 0:53.
5. Mikel Landa (ESP/SKY) 1:24.
6. Daniel Martin (EIR/QST) 2:37.
7. Simon Yates (GBR/ORI) 4:07.
8. Louis Meintjes (RSA/EAU) 6:35.
9. Alberto Contador (ESP/TRE) 7:45.
10. Warren Barguil (FRA/SUN) 8:52.
The 183-kilometer stage was the Tour’s first Alpine stage, featuring the Col du Télégraphe, followed by the Col du Galibier before a descent to the finish.
Despite crashing early in the stage, Roglic rode in the breakaway all day.
Wearing the polka-dot jersey, Warren Barguil also crashed, but he too carried on. Green jersey Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step) was not so fortunate. He abandoned after crashing, opening the door for Barguil’s Sunweb teammate Michael Matthews to take a convincing lead in the points classification.
Alberto Contador was there as well, and his Trek-Segafredo team drove the escape over the Col de la Croix de Fer and through the valley to the Télégraphe. The Spanish former champion was hoping for one last Tour stage win after falling out of contention for the overall.
However, the 11.7km Galibier did not go to plan. Roglic attacked a few times and finally rode clear with six kilometers remaining on the climb.
Darwin Atapuma (UAE Team Emirates) attacked Contador’s chase group, but he couldn’t bridge the gap to the Slovenian leader. Roglic went over the top alone, collecting the Souvenir Henri Desgrange prize, which honors the Tour’s founder.
“He’s a legend in cycling,” Roglic said of Contador. “I used to watch him on television. But we were all the same and I thought ‘just go for it.'”
The 27-year-old put his strong time trial abilities to use on the long descent into a headwind to win alone with his girlfriend and family at the finish to witness his greatest victory.
The group of GC favorites came apart on the Galibier after Team Sky drove the pace throughout the day.
Quick-Step’s Dan Martin and Bardet attacked multiple times but never got away. In large part, that was due to Sky’s Mikel Landa who controlled the tempo for Froome.
Barguil was also active at the front, primarily at the top of the climb to score more points in the king of the mountains competition.
Aru dangled off the back of the group throughout the final half of the Galibier, clearly struggling.
Simon Yates (Orica-Scott) also had trouble on the day’s final hors categorie climb. The Brit ceded time to Louis Meintjes (UAE Team Emirates) in the best young rider competition.
By the final kilometer, the Froome’s group caught all the escapees except Roglic. His teammate Mikel Landa led out the sprint, but Uràn snuck up the inside of the final left-hand bend to earn the overall time bonus. Froome’s third-place result got him four seconds in the overall.
“I expected it was going to be very much a shadow-chasing match between the main GC guys,” said Froome. “That was my mentality going over the climb today: Just do enough to follow the guys — not necessarily to do much with tomorrow in mind.”