Lotto Jumbo rider Primož Roglič shows grit and determination in the High Alps
The Tour de France really lights up when it hits the majestic climbs of the Alps. French President Emmanuel Macron was among the dignitaries for the day’s racing. Stage 17 didn’t take any prisoners, Marcel Kittel and Dan McLay where forced to abandoned the race. It was a stage that promised explosive attacks, it was a day that created history. Slovenia celbrated its first ever Tour de France stage-winner, chapeau to Primoż Roglič.
It didn’t take long for the drama of an Alpine stage to unfold. A touching of wheels sent a number of riders into an adjacent field, green jersey wearer, Marcel Kittel and polka dot jersey wearer Warren Barguil were among the riders involved in the crash. Kittel required and a new bike and a new cycling shoe, his ride was about to be cut short. A breakaway of 30 riders formed shortly after the crash.
Alberto Contador attacked in a solo effort to reach the break. An American media outlet tweeted that Contador recorded the fastest recorded time for an ascent up the Col de la Croix de Fer at 57’50”. Contador, at the time of reaching the Col du Galibier, had a stage advantage of 3’40 on the race leader, Chris Froome. Bauke Mollema put in a great shift at the front of the break, understandably, he couldn’t sustain the pace.
The desire to make a mark on the stage saw a trio of riders form to lead the race 15Km from the summit of the Col du Galibier; Contador, Serge Pauwels and Primož Roglič. The chasing pack led by a Team Sky quartet including Chris Froome began to set a high tempo, bringing the advantage down to less than 3 minutes. Fabio Aru and Romain Bardet both looked content to stay with the yellow jersey group. Michal Kwiatkowski had done his job for the day, leaving Froome with one teammate, Mikel Landa.
An attack came from Bardet, 3KM from the summit of the final climb. Froome and Rigoberto Uran were quick to follow, Fabio Aru was forced to drill the bike in an effort to get back up to his rivals. Dan Martin made then made his move, Froome looked happy to be led towards the summit. Roglic’s monumental effort at the front of the race was rewarded as the first rider to crest the summit of the Col du Galibier. Further down the mountain, skirmishes continued between Froome, Bardet, Uran and Aru.
Victory for Primoż Roglič
Roglic continued to lead the race on the fast descent from the summit, Froome was in the chase, accompanied by Uran, Bardet and Warren Barguil. The chase had intent, but in the end Roglič had done enough to secure a richly deserved stage victory. Aru lost time on his rivals, the Tour de France is still in his grasp, despite moving out of the top-three. Froome has a 27-second advantage over Bardet and Uran, both riders have a defecit of 27 seconds. As the race leader, Froome gave his obligatory post-stage interview to waiting media.
I’d be happy going into Saturday’s time trial with the gaps now. Chris Froome – Eurosport
Tomorrow’s stage will be enthralling. A 179.5KM route takes the riders from Briançon to the mountain-top finish at Izoard. It’s not over yet, but Froome’s rivals are running out of road in the battle for the yellow jersey.
1. Primoż Roglič
2. Rigoberto Uran
3. Chris Froome
4. Romain Bardet
5. Warren Barguil
1. Chris Froome
2. Rigoberto Uran, 0.27
3. Romain Bardet, st
4. Fabio Aru, 0.53
5. Mikel Landa, 1.24