LiveTour de France - stage 17

Summary

  1. Poland's Rafal Majka wins stage 17
  2. Vincenzo Nibali finishes third to extend GC lead
  3. Italian Giovanni Visconti takes second spot

Live Reporting

By Lawrence Barretto

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That's all from me, folks. Thanks for your company, as ever. It's been a blast. Here's the stage report, including analysis from Magnus Backstedt.

Chris Bevan is in the saddle tomorrow so until next time, it's good afternoon from me.

Tomorrow - stage 18

Tour de France

Tomorrow, stage 18 runs 145.5km from Pau to Haytacam. "The final battle in the mountains takes in the iconic Col du Tourmalet before the final showdown on Hautacam," says Team Sky's Geraint Thomas.

"Expect Vincenzo Nibali to be all guns blazing."

Tinkoff-Saxo chief Olaf Tinkoff on ITV4: "I'm very happy with my guys, we proved to the world that we are the strongest team. If there were some sceptics, we proved them wrong today. We are the strongest team. It was a sad about Alberto, but we have a good spirit. I'm very happy for my boys."

Three French riders - Thibaut Pinot, Jean-Christophe Peraud and Romain Bardet - retain their places in the top five.

With the way they're riding in the mountains, there's every chance two of them could make it onto the podium in Paris, behind Vincenzo Nibali, who looks untouchable at the top.

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Small Man Peaky: "Exciting young French, Polish and Colombian riders. The future of cycling is bright. The future of British cycling. Not so much."

It's stage winner Rafal Majka's turn to take to the podium, the Pole receiving his polka dot jersey after an sensational ride on the ascents today.

AFP

Yellow Jersey

Classification

Reuters

Italian Vincenzo Nibali, who is quite frankly dominating this year's Tour, climbs aboard the podium to receive the yellow jersey. Tomorrow will be the 15th day he'll be in yellow. It's been a sensational ride.

I reported that the gruppetto had crossed the line, but that was a mistake. They're still out there. Only 61 riders, of the 167 which started, have crossed the finish line.

Overall standings

Yellow Jersey

Classification

1) Vincenzo Nibali (Ita/Astana) 76hrs 41mins 28secs

2) Alejandro Valverde (Spa/Movistar) +5mins 26secs

3) Thibaut Pinot (Fra/FDJ.fr) +6mins 00secs

4) Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra/AG2R) +6mins 08secs

5) Romain Bardet (Fra/AG2R) +7mins 34secs

6) Tejay van Garderen (US/BMC Racing) +10mins 19secs

Good effort from the gruppetto which crosses the line now, around 15 minutes behind the winner. That should be within the time limit so that they can fight another day.

EPA

"Thank you for my team," says stage 17 winner Rafal Majka on ITV4. "Also Nicolas [Roche] did a great job today. I'm really happy to go in the front, pass everybody and win the stage. Yesterday I went easy, now I have the polka dot jersey and I want to keep it until Paris."

Stage 17 result

1) Rafal Majka (Tinkoff) 3hrs 35mins 23secs

2) Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) +29secs

3) Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) +46secs

4) Jean-Christophe Peraud (AG2R) +same time

5) Alessandro De Marchi (Cannondale) +49secs

Magnus Backstedt

Swedish cyclist on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

"The Tinkoff-Saxo team is filled with confidence now after Michael Rogers' win on Tuesday and they are getting the confidence and form. Without Alberto Contador this is the next best result they could have hoped for and once they got the first win under their belt the floodgates appear to be opening for more stage wins."

Polkadot Jersey

Classification

AP

That's Rafal Majka's second stage victory of his debut Tour de France after he triumphed in stage 14. He leads the polka dot jersey standings with 149 points, 31 clear of Vincenzo Nibali with Joaquim Rodriguez six further back.

Yellow Jersey

Classification

Vincenzo Nibali extends his lead in the general classification to five minutes and 26 seconds over Alejandro Valverde, with Thibaut Pinot third, 34 seconds further back.

Yellow Jersey

Classification

It's an impressive ride from yellow jersey leader Vincenzo Nibali who crosses the line third, just 43 seconds behind Majka.

CHAMPAGNE MOMENT

Tinkoff-Saxo rider Rafal Majka of Poland wins stage 17 of the Tour de France.

Vincenzo Nibali is now just one minute behind stage leader Rafal Majka and has five other riders, including 2010 Tour winner Frank Schleck, for company. But there are less than 2km to go.

Rafal Majka makes a move, launching an attack on the outright lead on this stage and Giovanni Visconti can't respond. What a ride this is from the polka dot jersey holder.

Polkadot Jersey

Classification

Rafal Majka, who holds the polka dot jersey, has caught leader Giovanni Visconti. Both are grimacing as they work together as the edge towards the summit.

They have a lead of one minute and 37 seconds over race leader Vincenzo Nibali and Jean-Christophe Peraud. Just 3.8km to go.

Yellow Jersey

Classification

With 5km to go, yellow jersey leader Vincenzo Nibali puts the hammer down and ups the pace. Within a couple of minutes, he slashes the gap to the leader from two minutes to one minute 39 seconds.

Lots of attacks on the mountain right now as Rafal Majka goes it along, after being dragged along by team-mate Nicolas Roche. He wants to hold on to the polka dot jersey.

Meanwhile, there's been an attack from Thibaut Pinot, who lies third overall, in the yellow jersey group and race leader Vincenzo Nibali.

However, Alejandro Valverde, who lies second in the general classification, can't respond and gets dropped.

Giovanni Visconti goes it alone, while Nicolas Roche drops back into a group which features polka dot jersey holder Rafal Majka, who himself has dropped rival Joaquim Rodriguez.

Magnus Backstedt

Swedish cyclist on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

"Vincenzo Nibali isn't really under any pressure, he's got a team-mate with him as a safety net just in case he has any technical problems."

Yellow Jersey

Classification

Race leader Vincenzo Nibali is in a group two minutes away from the leaders with 7.6km to go. The Italian also has second-placed Alejandro Valverde and third-placed Thibaut Pinot for company.

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Nicolas Roche (pictured) and Giovanni Visconti have gone clear, shaking off the challenge of Amael Moinard and Pierre Rolland. The chasing group, which features Joaquim Rodriguez, is 37 seconds further back.

We're approaching the bottom of the final climb - the Saint-Lary - Pla d'Adet, which has gradients of 10% in the opening few kilometres. Expect the field to spread out as riders attack.

Frenchman Romain Bardet has attacked on the descent, with the six-man yellow jersey group, which has broken free of the peloton, 23 seconds behind.

A 14-man lead group has a one minute and 53 second lead.

Col de Val Louron result

Polkadot Jersey

Classification

1) Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) - 10 points

2) Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) - 8

3) Jon Izaguirre (Movistar) - 6

Polkadot Jersey

Classification

Joaquim Rodriguez injects a burst of speed to go clear of the field and take the maximum King of the Mountain points to further extend his lead at the top of the standings. It looks like he'll be wearing the polka dot jersey tomorrow.

Good effort from Vasil Kiryienka but his time at top is over. The group, led by Nicolas Roche, gobbles him up just before the summit. Kiryienka can only watch on as all 13 riders pass him.

Magnus Backstedt

Swedish cyclist on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

"I think Kiriyienka is starting to struggle now, and the lead he has now will not be good enough as he hits the penultimate climb. It is a bit of a worrying moment when the cars come in around you because it tells you that the chasing riders are getting closer to you."

Nicolas Roche has moved to the front of the chasing group and is dragging it along. The result is that the gap to leader Vasil Kiryienka is down to 43 seconds and closing.

Magnus Backstedt

Swedish cyclist on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

"I don't think the gap is enough for Vasil Kiriyienka. Unfortunately for him the tough climb coming up and then the one to the finish will be too much for him."

Vasil Kiryienka is grimacing as he pushes on up the Col de Val Louron-Azet. Is his time alone at the front coming to an end? He still retains a lead of one minute over the chasing group and three minutes 14 over the peloton. Just over 26km remain.

Green Jersey

Classification

Sprinters green jersey holder Peter Sagan has dropped out of the peloton and is in the gruppetto, which has the sole aim of surviving the mountains to get to the finish within the time limit.

As the riders continue their progress up the Col de Val Louron-Azet, the third climb of the day, Vasil Kiryienka sees his lead cut down to one minute.

The chasing group has reduced to 16, with the peloton three minutes and 30 seconds further back.

Soigneurs

Back in the day, riders used metal bidons (water bottles) and stopped at village fountains to refill them. Nowadays, they've got someone to do it for them.

Called a soigneur, it's their job to fill up those hundreds of bottles a day and pack the musettes. He or she will also makes sure that the riders sleep, eat and drink well and also gives the riders their daily massages.

EPA

Vasil Kiryienka has form in breakaways. The Team Sky rider bolted away from the pack in stage 18 of last year's Vuelta a Espana at the uphill finish of Pena Cabarga, riding the last 40km solo.

He also has two stage wins on the Giro d'Italia. Can he complete the set today with a maiden stage win in the Tour?

Vasil Kiryienka's lead is down to one minute and 20 seconds over a group of 17 - now including Nicolas Roche and Jesus Herrada Lopez, who had previously made a break for it to get the points at the summit before dropping back.

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Magnus Backstedt

Swedish cyclist on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

"View from my ride over the last 3 climbs of today's stage. Riders are about to start this one in 10-15 min."

BBC

Col de Peyresourde result

Polkadot Jersey

Classification

1) Vasil Kiryienka (Team Sky) - 10 points

2) Nicolas Roche (Tinkoff-Saxo) - 8

3) Jesus Herrada Lopez (Movistar) - 6

4) Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) - 4

5) Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) - 2

6) Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Movistar) - 1

Vasil Kiryienka reaches the summit of the Col de Peyresourde to rapturous applause. The Team Sky rider, who takes the maximum King of the Mountains points, picks up another musette (food bag) and then continues on his way.

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Dan Rees: "Kiriyienka bashing out a good tempo, though doesn't have the greatest acceleration. Interesting to see if he can keep chasers at bay."

So Vasil Kiryienka continues his solo ride, one minute and 37 seconds clear of Nicolas Roche and Jesus Herrada Lopez.

Twenty one seconds further back is the group which features Joaquim Rodriguez (leads the live King of the Mountain classification) and Rafal Majka, who is wearing the polka dot jersey after starting the day in the lead.

The peloton is two minutes behind them.

Domestiques

Each team has a designated leader - in Team Sky's case that was initially defending champion Chris Froome - and that rider is looked after by the others in his teams, referred to as domestiques.

They are essentially the foot soldiers of the army who may try to up the pace to weaken their leader's rivals or drop back to assist him if he encounters difficulties.

A domestique will also be expected to fetch food, drinks and clothes - if the weather turns - from the team cars or give up his bike if the leader has a mechanical problem. The point is to allow the leader to save as much energy as possible for the crucial parts of the race.

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Jack Barclay: "Shame that Froome is long out of this year's tour. This stage was ripe and ready for him to exploit! Nibali's tour to lose now."

That lead for Vasil Kiryienka is up to two minutes and nine seconds. Meanwhile, two riders - one of which is Nicolas Roche - has broken free of the group between the peloton and Kiriyienka to chase the Team Sky rider.

Vasil Kiryienka has a lead of four minutes over the yellow jersey group - and that's growing with 69km remaining. The Team Sky rider is ticking along very nicely.

Musettes

Getty Images

Earlier, I mentioned Vasil Kiryienka picked up a bag of food. Well that's called a musette, essentially a rider's lunchbox but made of fabric.

When the first British team rode the Tour de France in the 1950s, they were given bags containing a chunk of chicken and a handful of dried fruit.

Today, riders are more likely to find high energy bars, small cakes and sandwiches.

Vasil Kiryienka isn't hanging around, the Team Sky rider has already opened up a lead of one minute and 37 second over the chasing group of 21 riders. The peloton is a further one minute behind.

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Nutt: "Hats off to Blel Kadri, seems to have been in the break on more stages than not. Top rider in a dull Tour sans Froome and Bertie."

Vasil Kiryienka has made a break of it, the Team Sky rider going it alone and grabbing a bag of food as he begins the ascent of the Col de Peyresourde.

Joaquim Rodriguez has fallen back into the leading group, which now features 22 riders. The peloton is one minute and 30 seconds adrift.

The riders pass through the feeding station before heading out of town bound for the second climb of the day.

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Col du Portillon result

Polkadot Jersey

Classification

1) Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) - 10 points

2) Nicolas Roche (Tinkoff) - 8

3) Kristijan Durasek (Lampre) - 6

4) Alessandro De Marchi (Cannondale) - 4

5) Bauke Mollema (Belkin) - 2

6) Rein Taaramae (Cofidis), 1

OUCH!

Luke Durbridge hits the deck after colliding with a Movistar team member who was in position with some water bottles for his team's riders.

Durbridge picks himself up, gives the poor man a good shove in frustration and then gets back on his bike.

The hapless team member tries to make amends by giving Durbridge a push off, which is nice of him.

Polkadot Jersey

Classification

Joaquim Rodriguez kicks as they approach the summit of the first climb, with Nicolas Roche going with him. However, the Spaniard injects another burst of pace which is too hot for the Irishman.

That move proves to be enough to take the maximum King of the Mountain points available and thus reclaim the lead in the polka dot jersey standings.

The leading four become six as Bauke Mollema and David Lopez join the group. They have a lead of 26 seconds over a gaggle of 26 riders, with the peloton a further 30 seconds back.

Yellow Jersey

Classification

There is nobody in the leading four, or the group of 18 that sits between them and the peloton, is a challenger of race leader Vincenzo Nibali, so he'll be content with his position in the peloton for now.

Another burst of acceleration from Joaquim Rodriguez, the Spaniard aiming to get to the top of this climb first to scoop up the points. He's got three riders for company, including Durasek, De Marchi and Roche.