Tour de France | 17. Etappe
The moment Pogacar took his first win in yellow...
It's a fifth Tour stage win for Pog - and a second in this year's Tour - but his first ever while in the fabled maillot jaune. Thanks for joining us today - and see you tomorrow for the stage to Luz Ardiden. Until then, here's the closing moments of today's race...
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Pogacar wins Stage 17 after ‘biggest bluff’ from Carapaz
Gaudu secures fourth place on Bastille Day
David Gaudu is the best placed Frenchman on 14th July after his late effort from the chase group. The others arrive in drips and drabs with Ben O'Connor taking fifth and Wilco Kelderman sixth. Pello Bilbao, Sergio Higuita, Rigo Uran and Dylan Teuns complete the top 10 in that order, with Enric Mas in eleventh. Uran could be the big GC loser dropping from second to maybe fifth on GC.
Victory for Tadej Pogacar!
It's the Slovenian's first ever stage victory in the yellow jersey after he drops his rivals in the last 100m and crosses the line three seconds clear of Vingegaard and Carapaz. That will be the new podium - in that same order - tonight. But surely that is proof that no one is going to beat Tadej Pogacar of UAE Team Emirates from winning a second Tour on Sunday.
0.5km: Vingegaard digs deep
The white jersey is doing his best to return to the two leaders. I'd be amazed if Pogacar lets Carapaz wins after his dirty tactics on the climb. For now the yellow jersey is smiling and giving him a taste of his own medicine as he sits on his rival's wheel and lets him do all the work. But the young Dane is battling back and closing in... this could be a fantastic finish...
1.5km: Carapaz attacks!
The wily old sod! After sandbagging his way up the climb, the Ecuadorian puts in a big dig which distances Vingegaard ahead of the tunnel, which is where the flamme rouge comes...
2.5km: Calm before the storm
The pace in this leading trio seems to have eased up as the gradient also eases before the final ramp to the line where it ramps up to double figures. With just around 2km to go Pogacar finally makes his move - but both riders stay on his wheel. Vingegaard is clearly annoyed with Carapaz for not once showing his hand and coming forward - but I'd be surprised if this was a game he's playing, he is really surely cooked.
4km: Carapaz hanging on, Gaudu chasing
Frenchman David Gaudu has ridden clear of the chasers in pursuit of the three leaders. Bahrain duo Bilbao and Teuns are back in that group, which is one minute down. Carapaz is bearing his teeth and looking like he's in a world of pain - either he's about to pop or it's an elaborate bluff. Pog and Rog - sorry, Vingegaard - continue relaying on the front as the riders enter the mist of the clouds and it gets all eerie.
6km: Uran off the virtual podium
The top three on the road is the top three in the standings right now with Uran 25 seconds off the pace and currently losing his second place to Vingegaard and dropping off the podium for Carapaz. The Ecuadorian is a passenger in this trio with the men in yellow and white taking it in turns pulling .
Uran now has EF teammate Higuita pacing him in a small chase group that also includes O'Connor. They're all riding for their positions in the top five out there. Gaudu and Kelderman are also in what has become a quintet.
8km: Pogacar attacks... and again!
A first attack from the yellow jersey ended Bilbao's hopes and saw Perez reeled in - all while whittling down the GC group considerably. When he goes again, only Vingegaard and Carapaz can go with him. Uran was there, but he then folded and is now doing his best to manage his efforts.
9km: Pello Bilbao attacks!
The Spaniard is the first rider to make a move from the GC group and it's quite a bold move from Bilbao given he had Bahrain-Victorious teammate Dylan Teuns available to send ahead on a probing attack first. But with the three riders ahead of him on GC - Martin, Mas and Lutsenko - perhaps Bilbao is aiming to jump up the standings.
Godon, meanwhile, has been caught while Perez's lead is coming down fast - just a handful of seconds now...
11km: Two minutes for Perez, Pogacar in control
Pog has Majka with him while behind Jonas Vingegaard has Sepp Kuss, Carapaz has Castroviejo and Uran has Higuita. Kelderman is here, his chin bloodied, despite crashing on the previous descent (TV cameras didn't pick it up) but Enric Mas has been dropped. Also in this slipping yellow jersey group are Michael Woods, David Gaudu, Ben O'Connor, Pello Bilbao, Dylan Teuns, Mattia Cattaneo and Alexey Lutsenko.
Now Castroviejo muscles in and comes to the front, much to Majka's annoyance. The pair share a few words as Ineos look to disrupt UAE for their man Carapaz. Lutsenko is currently yo-yoing off the back along with Woods...
13km: Perez goes solo
Godon and Perez are former teammates but after the former attacked the latter, the Cofidis man was having nothing of it and made his move. Now he has half an hour of hell to see if he can hold on for the victory. We've had a string of big-name riders dropped, most notably Julian Alaphilippe, Wout van Aert and Richie Porte. Pogacar is down to just Rafal Majka after McNulty hit the wall, while Richard Carapaz only has Jonathan Castroviejo after Geraint Thomas joined Richie Porte in exploding off the back.
14km: Kelderman back after crash
Wilco Kelderman had a mechanical issue just ahead of the climb but the Dutchman is now back in the mix. On closer inspection, he must have crashed because he has blood on his face. Esteban Chaves also had a flat tyre so he needed a wheel change. Pierre Latour and Alejandro Valverde are among the early riders to be dropped on this climb - followed soon after by Davide Formolo, who fought back on the last descent, but has now exploded after doing more work for teammate Pogacar. The defending champion and man in yellow still has McNulty and Majka, who are drilling a tempo on the front - bringing the gap down to 3'20".
It's worth adding that the Col du Portet is also rather beautiful...
17km: Cat.HC Col du Portet
Our two leaders are approaching the start of this decisive climb, which is 16.1km long at an average of 8.6%. It's arguably the toughest climb of the Tour - certainly the hardest of the three summit finishes - and Perez and Godon have just under four minutes to play with.
23km: Kuss overcooks a bend
Sepp Kuss goes onto the grass verge and just about manages to ride it out on a tight hairpin bend. That was potential bib short-changing stuff given the drop on the other side. Godon, meanwhile, has joined forces with Perez on the descent. They have 1'10" on Turgis and 3'40" on the main pack.
28km: Perez takes 10 KOM points
The Frenchman pockets the polka dot jersey points over the summit of this second climb and he has about 20 seconds on his compatriot Dorian Godon. Back with the main pack, Richie Porte edges ahead with 1km of the climb remaining - but the Aussie veteran is just picking up a number of gels affixed to a bidon. It's worth adding that Julian Alaphilippe is still in the main pack and so an outside bet for a French winner on Bastille Day. Just ahead of the summit, Davide Formolo is dropped and so Pogacar is down to just two in McNulty and Majka.
An attack from Wout Poels sees the Dutchman take 4pts for what must be fourth place over the summit (Anthony Turgis is still ahead as well). Quintana edges ahead for fifth place and 2pts and so Poels is now 10pts clear of Woods and 12 clear of Quintana.
30km: Break being caught in dribs and drabs
Van Poppel and Postlberger are swept up by the UAE-led pack, not before they share a quick fist pump. The Austrian seeks out his Bora leader, Wilco Kelderman, to whom he offers an energy bar before slipping further back. Chevalier is the next to be swallowed up. Anthony Perez, meanwhile, continues riding towards the summit and a possible stage win on Bastille Day. It will be a huge ask, though.
32km: Latour attacks again... is caught again...
Pierre Latour has another pop but he never has more than 20 metres over the main pack and he's swept back quite easily - albeit after UAE shed another rider in Marc Hirschi. That puts Pogacar down to three men in McNulty, Formolo and Majka. Off the back goes Dan Martin and another Ineos rider in Dylan van Baarle. Still around 35 riders in this main pack though. And Ineos do have four men as well, to be fair, in Carapaz, Thomas, Porte and Castroviejo.
34km: Perez lights it up
Anthony Perez powers clear of the leading trio - Anthony Turgis tries to respond but seems to have a gearing issue and he drops back, leaving Dorian Godon to lead the chase somewhere in between. The pack is 3'55" back but it's still fairly large - around 60 riders - with Pogacar on the front with four teammates (Mikkel Bjerg peeled off at the start of the cliimb). You sense that there's only going to be one winner today - the race leader.
36km: Cat.1 Col de Val Louron-Azet
The breakaway has reached the second climb which is 7.4km at 8.3%. Chevalier and Van Poppel are the first to pop, followed soon after by Postlberger. So we have a French trio out ahead in Perez, Godon and Turgis. They have four minutes over Pierre Latour, who is about to be caught by the peloton back down on the valley road ahead of the climb.
45km: Latour with 40 seconds at the summit
The Frenchman goes over with a decent gap over the peloton, which still has six UAE riders on the front - including the man in yellow, Tadej Pogacar. It's a fast descent now past the turn off for the airstrip at Peyregudes and then down to the town of Loudenvielle at the foot of the next climb. It looks like they have left behind the grey clouds and are now riding in sunshine. Long may that continue...
49km: Turgis takes 10 KOM points
It's the Frenchman Anthony Turgis who kicks clear of his fellow escapees to crest the summit in pole position. The break still have Pierre Latour - Turgis's TotalEnergies teammate - in pursuit but their gap has been slashed to 4'15" over the pack. Tao Geoghegan Hart is the latest Ineos rider to be dropped - the 2020 Giro champion has really struggled in his maiden Tour, and he's following Michal Kwiatkowski's trajectory off the back... although there's a chance he could come back on the descent.
52km: A lot of effort for very little
The Quintana-Poels group is very much in no man's land. They did have 40 seconds at one point but now the advantage is just 15 seconds and we've seen the Dutchman looking over his shoulder and seriously considering dropping back. It's all so futile with another 4km left for them to climb and that break still five minutes up the road.
Pierre Latour, who isn't part of the polka dot battle, decides to take advantage of this indecision by attacking - prompting Gesbert to give up the ghost and Poels and Quintana to it back and succumb to the inevitable. UAE look very strong with five riders on the front tapping out tempo for Pogacar.
55km: Latour joins the chasers
Pierre Latour has joined Quintana, Gesbert and Poels but the gap is very small still. It interesting to see no reaction from Michael Woods, which could well prove to be a sensible tactic. The way things are going, all the KOM points will be taken by the breakaway on this climb, so there's no need to go big-guns right now for nothing. After all, there are double points at the finish - 40pts - and so it's likely that whoever wins today's stage also takes the polka dot jersey...
Off the back of the pack goes Mark Cavendish, Chris Froome and also Michal Kwiatkowski, which is a surprise because the Pole is usually a key component of Ineos's uphill armoury. The British team have had a wretched Tour - not just without a win, but without a single top five finish on any stage. Can Richard Carapaz turn things around today? He's one second off the podium but still 5'33" down on Pogacar.
58km: Quintana makes his move
Elie Gesbert ups the tempo on the front for Arkea-Samsic and rides clear with teammate Quintana on his back wheel. This should provoke a shake-up and indeed, yes, the polka dot jersey of Wout Poels bridges over and sits on the Colombian's wheel. They have a small gap on the strung-out peloton, which has the UAE team of yellow jersey Tadej Pogacar at its head. As a result of the acceleration, some riders are shelled out the back - including Pierre Rolland, the first man to attack today - while the advantage of the break has already come done one minute.
59km: Cat.1 Col de Peyresourde
Shortly after the sprint in Bagneres-de-Luchon, the break hit the first of today's three climbs. It's 13.2km long at a relatively gentle 7%. The pace isn't high when the pack edged onto it and, as such, the break still have a gap of over eight minutes.
61km: Matthews beats Cavendish at the sprint
After an expert lead-out by Luka Mezgec, Michael Matthews beats Mark Cavendish and Sonny Colbrelli in the intermediate sprint for seventh place. That means the Australian closes the gap by one point to 36 points while Cavendish moves 75 clear of the Italian. No huge change - but you never know what the trickle-down effect will be. When the break came through around eight minutes ago, it was Van Poppel who took the spoils - as expected, he being the fastest sprinter.
70km: Intermediate sprint coming up
We're less than 10km from the intermediate sprint where we should see some activity behind from Mark Cavendish in his bid to extend his lead in the green jersey standings after getting pegged back by Michael Matthews yesterday. The gap for the six leaders is up to 8'25".
Eighteen years ago...
Josepa Beloki crashed terribly in the melted tarmac on the descent of the Côte de la Rochette on the outskirts of Gap in Stage 9 of the 2003 Tour de France, forcing the pursuing Lance Armstrong to do a bit of off-road riding to protect his yellow jersey...
80km: Four Frenchmen in the mix
It's Bastille Day and so it's no surprise that two-thirds of today's six-man breakaway is French. They are Anthony Turgis (Team TotalEnergies), Maxime Chavelier (B&B Hotels), Anthony Perez (Cofidis) and Dorian Godon (AG2R-Citroen), who join Austria's Lukas Postlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Dutchman Danny van Poppel (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) in this move. After battling headwinds and sidewinds for the first couple of hours, the break now has a nice tailwind as they continue up the valley towards the Pyrenees and today's first climb. The gap is still eight minutes.
90km: On the last visit to the Col du Portet...
... the Tour organisers thought they'd try something different in the form of that staggered Grand Prix-style start for the top 20 riders on GC ahead of a short 65km stage in 2018 that concluded on the Col de Portet. The damp-squib of a Formula One-inspired start happened in Bagneres-de-Luchon, the town the riders will pass through for the intermediate sprint ahead of the Col de Peyresourde today.
Winner that day was Nairo Quintana ahead of Dan Martin and Geraint Thomas, who cemented his grip on the yellow jersey just four days from Paris. This bodes well for Quintana, who has dual ambitions for a stage win and the polka dot jersey today...
100km: Winless Chevalier the odd one out
Maxime Chavelier is the only rider in the break without a pro win to his name; Anthony Perez has three, Dorion Godon four, Lukas Postlberger five (most recently at the Criterium du Dauphine), Anthony Turgis six, and Danny van Poppel the big man on campus with 16 victories. Despite the efforts of the teams combining on the front behind, the gap remains around the eight-minute mark for our escapees. But with those three big climbs in the final third, it's hard seeing any of these riders - none of whom have a strong climbing pedigree - staying out. Perez is perhaps the most adept at riding uphill - but once things kick off behind he won't be a match to the big-hitters.
111km: Arkea-Samsic put a third of their manpower on the front
Connor Swift - one of just three Arkea-Samsic riders left in this race - comes to the front to lend a hand to Israel Start-Up Nation and the lone UAE rider pulling the peloton, Vegard Laeken. Like ISUN, Arkea have their eye on polka dot points for their Colombian climber Nairo Quintana, who is 10 points down on Wout Poels in the KOM standings. The third Arkea rider left in the race, by the way, is the Frenchman Elie Gesbert. Our six leaders, meanwhile, still have 7'55" on the pack.
120km: Froome feeling good?
Israel Start-Up Nation have come to the front of the peloton to help lead the chase as the break edges above the eight-minute mark. Are they planning to set up Chris Froome for the win? Haha - not likely. Come back in a year and maybe that could be on the cards. No, for now they're thinking about Michael Woods and the polka dot jersey. For if this six-man break stay out, they will take all the points that the Canadian needs if he wants to overturn Wout Poels' eight-point lead in the KOM standings.
Still, while we're on the subject of Froome, it's worth remembering that today's first climb - the Col de Peyresourde - is the same climb, but in reverse, where the four-time Tour winner pulled off that daring hugging-the-top-tube descent en route to victory in Bagneres-de-Luchon in Stage 8 in 2016, the day he took the yellow jersey he would wear all the way to Paris.
130km: Bernard gives up the chase
Bradley Wiggins, from the back of his motorbike, described Julien Bernard's lone pursuit of the breakaway as "like watching a small pigeon dying slowly in Leicester Square". The Frenchman never got closer than one minute and it seems like he's now decided to knock it off after a chat with his Trek-Segafredo DS. Bernard will now have to do cycling's equivalent of the walk of shame as he gets reabsorbed by the peloton after his failed attempt at bridging over. Our six leaders now have 6'30".
French winners on Bastille Day
The last Frenchman to win on the national holiday of "Quatorze Juillet" - known in the English-speaking world as Bastille Day - was Warren Barguil during the 2017 Tour. Then at Team Sunweb, Barguil, sporting the polka dots he would take all the way to Paris, won Stage 13 at Foix having narrowly lost to Rigoberto Uran a few days earlier at Chambery. Barguil memorably added a second win a few days later on the Col d'Izoard on his way to a career-high 10th place on GC. Barguil is one of five Arkea-Samsic riders no longer at the Tour with their climber Nairo Quintana very unsupported as he enters these two summit finishes in the Pyrenees.
Image credit: Eurosport
Prior to Barguil, the last French winner on 14th July was David Moncoutie, the so-called Postman, who delivered for Cofidis at Digne-les-Bains after a fine solo effort. To date, there have been 32 French wins on Bastille Day on the Tour with Laurent Jalabert doing it twice (1995 and 2001), ditto Bernard Thevenet (1970 and 1975), Jacques Anquetil (1961 and 1964) and Charles Pelissier (1930 and 1931).
145km: Steven Kruijswijk abandons
An early blow for Jonas Vingegaard with the withdrawal of his experienced Dutch teammate Kruijswijk, who injured his finger in the opening week and is apparently also suffering from illness. That puts Jumbo-Visma down to just four riders following the earlier withdrawals of team leader Primoz Roglic and road captains Tony Martin and Robert Gesink. The Danish tyro - who is currently third in his debut Tour - still has Wout van Aert, Sepp Kuss and Mike Teunissen in support.
148km: Chasers join the break
The two chasers have managed to make the connection and so we now have six riders clear - Postlberger, Perez, Godon, Turgis, Van Poppel and Chevalier - with Bernard chasing potatoes at 1'20" and the peloton, which is being driven by Vegard Laengen of UAE Team Emirates, as 4'55".
150km: Four minutes for the four leaders
Our break now has 4'05" on the pack with the chasing duo at 30" and that man Bernard at 1'45". "They're going to need over 10 minutes ahead of those climbs if they want to stand a chance," says Brian Smith in the Eurosport comms box.
155km: Three Frenchman in pursuit
It's Bastille Day, after all, so no surprise to see some French riders try to join their countryman Perez in the break. Anthony Turgis (Team TotalEnergies) and Maxime Chavelier (B&B Hotels) are first to zip clear, the latter battling the laws of physics with his unzipped gilet flapping in the wind. Then Julien Bernard (Trek-Segafredo) tries his luck and extricates himself from a peloton which looks to be easing up, with numerous riders deciding now is the right time to answer a call of nature on the side of the road.
160km: Four go clear
Lukas Postlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe), Anthony Perez (Cofidis), Dorian Godon (AG2R-Citroen) and Danny van Poppel (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) have managed to open up a gap on the peloton. Mark Cavendish and his Deceuninck-QuickStep colleagues remain attentive to all the moves - the Manxman clearly doesn't want too many riders to get in the break, so that he can perhaps contest the intermediate sprint before the climbs and add to his green jersey tally.
162km: Rolland reabsorbed
It's all over for Pierre Rolland. At one point he had 30 seconds but he was onto a hiding for nothing and so it was no surprise to see him ease up and rejoin the peloton. So, we go back to zero after a tough opening 15km.
167km: Still no company for Rolland
There have been several attempts from riders to go clear of the pack in pursuit of the lone leader but Rolland's B&B Hotels teammates have been quite attentive to all the moves - and despite lots of interest from the French contingent (Valentin Madouas of Groupama-FDJ being the latest) nothing has stuck just yet.
175km: Attaque de Pierre Rolland!!
There’s a flurry of early moves with Tao Geoghegan Hart and Magnus Cort in the thick of things and Mark Cavendish, in green, attentive to the threats. He won’t want any of his green jersey rivals – Messrs Colbrelli and Matthews – go clear today after they successfully closed the gap yesterday.
Eventually things settle a little as Pierre Rolland goes clear with an attack – a fitting sight on Bastille Day. He ploughs a lonely furrow and is battling strong winds - from the side, and head on - as well as the persistent drizzle. The Frenchman - twice a stage winner on the Tour, but not since 2012 - will hope that someone joins him soon, otherwise his move is doomed to fail.
178.4km: Stage 17 under way!
Prudy leaves it late - no surprise with the drizzle and cold in the air - but he eventually emerges from the misleadingly named sunroof of his red Skoda - and that's it, this key stage in the Pyrenees is under way. And with it being Bastille Day and all that, you can expect some champagne to hand inside the race director's car, no doubt. But will he be cheering on a French winner?
It's wet and cold in the Pyrenees...
What's happened to the French summer? Once again the riders are covered in jackets and arm warmers as they edge through the neutral zone ahead of the official start to Stage 17. With three climbs in the final third - the Col de Peyresourde, Col de Val Louron-Azet and Col du Portet - it's going to be a big day for the polka dot jersey competition with a total of 60pts up for grabs (including 40pts for whoever wins the stage). But it's also, obviously, an important day for Tadej Pogacar in yellow - while the intermediate sprint comes before the climbs and so we could see some action in the green jersey battle, too.
Stage 16 recap: Konrad on song
For the first time in his career, two-time Austrian champion Patrick Konrad won a bike race outside his national championships – the 29-year-old Bora-Hansgrohe domestique holding off a large chase group to win the first of three successive days in the Pyrenees.
Runner-up in Stage 14 at Quillan, Konrad went one better on Tuesday after making his decisive move with 73km remaining. Leaving a chase group of 10 riders in his wake, Konrad bridged over to a leading trio on the Col de la Core – the second of four categorised climbs on the menu.
Mindful of the duo of fast finishers behind in the form of Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Victorious) and Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange), Konrad then kicked clear of Belgian Jan Bakelants (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) and Frenchman Fabien Doubey (Team TotalEnergies) on the Col de Portet-d’Aspet.
Frenchman David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) and Italian champion Colbrelli led the chase on Konrad, cresting the summit of the climb with a deficit of 25 seconds. But the gap grew on the infamous descent where the late Italian Fabio Casartelli tragically lost his life in 1995, with Gaudu and Colbrelli eventually sitting up and waiting for the Matthews chase group to bridge over.
Konrad still held around 55 seconds after the short fourth-category climb inside the last five kilometres, a gap which allowed the Austrian to savour the moment as he took the biggest win of his career. Despite a late dig by Frenchman Pierre-Luc Perichon (Cofidis), Colbrelli pipped Matthews on the ramped finale for second place at 42 seconds as the Australian slashed Mark Cavendish’s lead in the green jersey standings to 37 points.
Full report here
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