Today’s tough mountainous stage 17 of the Tour de France caused another shake up in overall standings with white jersey wearerSimon Yates losing some time overall, moving into seventh place on the general classification.
After two hard mountain passes, the Col de Criox de Fer and Télégraphe, the real fireworks began on the final Hors Category climb of the day, the Col de Galibier, with aggressive attacks from Dan Martin (Ettix-Quickstep) and Roman Bardet (AG2R) which caused the yellow jersey group to shatter and saw Yates distanced slightly over the top.
The 24-year-old ORICA-SCOTT rider fought hard to limit his losses over the final few kilometres of the climb to eventually finish the day in 14th place, three minutes 14seconds behind the solo winner Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) who survived from an early breakaway.
“It was a very difficult day, I didn’t have the best day and lost some time there in the final,” Yates explained. “I didn’t really blow up mentally, I think I limited my losses ok.”
“There was quite a lot of wind about and I got shelled off the group towards the end of the final climb. I really fought a lot to stay there as I knew there was still a long way to the finish but I couldn’t do anymore.”
After today’s stage Yates maintains his lead in the young riders classification, now with a two minute 28second buffer over his closest rival Louis Meintjes (UAE Emirates).
“We are pretty far into the tour now and I think I did really well to not lose too much time today,” Yates continued. “I went full gas on the final climb and I wasn’t strong enough today so I hope to have better legs.”
Sport director Matt White acknowledged Yates’ mature riding, staying out of the ‘red’ to remain in contention after 17 stages with a final challenging mountain test tomorrow.
“Yates rode very conservatively over the top of the climb today, he went over the top around 15 to 20seconds behind and actually held the group for half of the descent until he finally came in contact with a rough headwind,” White said. “It was a little bit of a blow losing time but we’ve only dropped down one spot on the GC and we still have a two and half minute cushion in the young rider classification.”
“Tomorrow is the last real mountain stage so it is going to be an exciting day and there’s a lot to be won or lost on the stage.”
How it happened:
With over 4500metres of climbing ahead for the riders, the day began with an opportunistic breakaway of 30riders establishing within the first 20kilometres of the stage.
ORICA-SCOTT were represented with Colombian Esteban Chaves and the group opened up a five minute lead on the chasing peloton. Behind Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) was the first to launch a dangerous attack which rattled the peloton and created the first real splits and tension between the GC contenders.
Finally after 120kilometres of racing, the breakaway group was swallowed up by the chasing group which contained Yates along with all the GC favourites.
On the final climb, Roglic, who had been part of the early breakaway, launched a long-ranged attack and was able to hold off the chase from the GC riders to take a solo victory into Serre Chevalier.
Behind Roman Bardet (AG2R), Chris Froome (Team Sky), Fabio Aru (Astana) and Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac) battled it out in an attempt to steal the remaining bonus seconds, with the close top three positions changing once again.
Tomorrow provides the final mountains test for the riders with 179kilometre summit finish stage into Col de Izoard.
Tour de France stage 17 results:
1. Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) 5:07:41
2. Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac) +1:13
3. Chris Froome (Team Sky) ST
14. Simon Yates (ORICA-SCOTT) 3:14
General classification after stage 17:
1. Chris Froome (Team Sky) 73:27:26
2. Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac) +0:27
3. Roman Bardet (AG2R) ST
7. Simon Yates (ORICA-SCOTT) +4:07