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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

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. Post update

    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.

  2. Tomorrow - stage 18

    Tour de France stage 18 profile

    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."

  3. Post update

    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."

  4. Post update

    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.

  5. Get involved #bbccycling

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

  6. Post update

    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.

    Majka
  7. Post update

    Yellow Jersey

    Classification

    Vincenzo Nibali

    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.

  8. Post update

    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.

  9. 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

  10. Post update

    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.

  11. Post update

    Rafal Majka

    "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."

  12. 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

  13. Post update

    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."

  14. Post update

    Polkadot Jersey

    Classification

    Rafal Majka

    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.

  15. Post update

    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.

  16. Post update

    Yellow Jersey

    Classification

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

  17. CHAMPAGNE MOMENT

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

  18. Post update

    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.

  19. Post update

    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.

  20. Post update

    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.

  21. Post update

    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.

  22. Post update

    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.

  23. Post update

    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.

  24. Post update

    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."

  25. Post update

    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.

  26. Post update

    Nicolas Roche

    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.

  27. Post update

    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.

  28. Post update

    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.

  29. 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

  30. Post update

    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.

  31. Post update

    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.

  32. Post update

    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."

  33. Post update

    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.

  34. Post update

    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."

  35. Post update

    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.

  36. Post update

    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.

  37. Post update

    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.

  38. 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.

  39. Post update

    Vasil Kiryienka

    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?

  40. Post update

    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.

  41. Get involved #bbccycling

    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."

    Stage 17
  42. 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

  43. Post update

    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    Rob Hatch and Magnus Backstedt are in the commentary box for the conclusion of today's stage. You can listen via the Live Coverage tab console at the top of the page.

  44. Post update

    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.

  45. Get involved #bbccycling

    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."

  46. Post update

    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.

  47. 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.

  48. Get involved #bbccycling

    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."

  49. Post update

    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.

  50. Post update

    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.

  51. Musettes

    Musettes

    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.

  52. Post update

    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.

  53. Get involved #bbccycling

    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."

  54. Post update

    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.

  55. Post update

    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.

    Stage 17
  56. 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

  57. 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.

  58. Post update

    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.

  59. Post update

    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.

  60. Post update

    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.

  61. Post update

    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.

  62. Post update

    The breakaway has been caught by Joaquim Rodriguez and polka dot jersey holder Rafal Majka and is now formed of 21 riders. They hold a 15-second lead over the peloton, which contains yellow jersey holder Vincenzo Nibali.

    A group eight stragglers have dropped off the back of the peloton.

  63. Post update

    Joaquim Rodriguez has got three riders - Frank Schleck, Mikael Cherel and Tom Jelte Slagter - for company as he looks to put daylight between himself and the peloton.

  64. Get involved #bbccycling

    Andrew Harvey: "Peloton being kept on a really tight leash today. You'd think Rodriguez and Majka would be looking at today's juicy KOM points."

  65. First climb of the day

    We're on the ascent of Col du Portillon, with a gradient of 8%. The breakaway have a lead of 40 seconds, after Team Katusha did a great job of pegging the back.

    Now Joaquim Rodriguez, who is one point behind Rafal Majka in the race for the polka dot jersey, has made a break for it from the peloton.

    Col du Portillon
  66. The climbs

    Each mountain climb is ranked according to difficulty from four to one - but the most punishing are given the label "hors categorie", or beyond categorisation.

    Today's stage has three category ones, followed by a final hors categorie.

    Legend has it that the numbers originally referred to the gear that a car would have to be in to go up it.

    Hors categorie climbs, it is said, are impassable by car.

  67. OUCH!

    Team NetApp-Endura's Zak Dempster has asked for the medical team after being stung by a wasp. Ouch.

  68. Post update

    Good work from Team Katusha, who are continuing to do all the work at the front of the peloton, pulling it along in a bid to catch the breakaway and get their rider Joaquim Rodriguez into the mix for the King of the Mountains jersey point.

    The gap to the breakaway is down to 45 seconds with 80km to go.

    Stage 17
  69. Post update

    Blel Kadri takes the spoils at the intermediate sprint, the AG2R rider securing 20 points with Martin Elmiger second and Sergio Paulinho third.

  70. Post update

    We're down to 166 riders, with Katusha's Simon Spilak abandoning the race with a stomach bug.

  71. Get involved

    #bbccycling

    Toniwater: Vincenzo Nibali in no real danger from Alejandro Valverde, he looks very comfortable in the Yellow Jersey. No change at the top of the General Classification today!

  72. Post update

    The gruppetto is a group of riders whose strong point is not climbing, so they stick together to help each other finish inside the time limit.

    They will be under huge pressure today, because the stage is so fast and if they drop back too far, they face elimination from the race.

  73. Post update

    It's such a fast race at the moment, with the breakaway pedalling along at an average speed of 53.4km/h. The eight lead the peloton by one minute under bright blue skies amid glorious sunshine.

    Stage 17
  74. Post update

    Team Katusha are dragging the peloton along because they will want Joaquim Rodriguez to score points in the King of the Mountains competition in a bid to see him regain the polka dot jersey.

  75. The climbs

    The first climb - the Col du Portillon - starts at 49km into to the stage, followed by the Col de Peyresourde at 68.5km, the Col de Val Louron-Azet at 93km and the Saint-Lary - Pla d'Adet at 112.5km.

  76. Post update

    A group of eight riders have made a break for it - Sergio Paulinho, Blel Kadri, Tom-Jelte Slagter, Yukiya Arashiro, Cyril Gautier, Jens Voigt, Nicolas Edet and Martin Elmiger - and already carved out a 43-second lead after 14.3km.

  77. Two withdrawals

    167 riders make the start

    The stage is under way, with a field of 167 contesting the start. Simon Gerrans and Reto Hollenstein, who crashed in the first kilometre of racing yesterday before impressively battling his way to the end, have withdrawn.

    Hollenstein
  78. Post update

    Polkadot Jersey

    Classification

    Rafal Majka pulled on the polka dot jersey for the first time, after moving one point clear of Joaquim Rodriguez. It could all change again, though, with 80 points up for grabs.

  79. Post update

    Yellow Jersey

    Classification

    So Vincenzo Nibali will wear the yellow jersey for the 14th day while Peter Sagan retains the green sprinters jersey. He's got 402 points, comfortably ahead of second-placed Bryan Coquard on 226.

  80. Post update

    Alberto Contador was injured at the Tour de France

    Yesterday, Mark Cavendish suggested he could be fit enough to race in the third and final Grand Tour of the season - the Vuelta a Espana, at the end of next month - as he recovers from shoulder surgery following a crash in the first stage of the Tour.

    If he makes it, he won't be joined by Spain's Alberto Contador, who has ruled himself out of the Spanish race following a setback in his recovery from the broken shin that ended his Tour de France.

    Two-time Vuelta winner Contador, 31, withdrew from the Tour last week after crashing on Stage 10 and tweeted: "Bad day, the wound healing gets complicated. I've no date to take the bike. Goodbye to the Vuelta."

  81. Post update

    "My big objective was to gain time on Bardet," said 24-year-old Thibaut Pinot (pictured) of his 23-year-old countryman after moving up to third in the General Classification.

    "Seeing that I could drop Valverde, too, at the same time is a huge boost to my morale. We'll see what happens [today]. I'll keep on trying."

  82. Post update

    Omega Pharma Quick-Step rider Mark Renshaw: Today is not going to be fun. Short stage and lots of climbing. Safety in numbers guys.

  83. Post update

    Geraint Thomas

    Team Sky's five-time Tour de France rider

    Tour de France stage 17 profile

    "We went to see the final climb on this stage after the Criterium du Dauphine and it's a tough ascent. The climbs before it, added to the fact it's the last week, makes this one of the hardest day's of this year's race.

    "It will be a big General Classification battle and all the main contenders will have done a recce of this stage. Expect lots of aggressive riding on the final ascent."

  84. Post update

    Afternoon all and a very warm welcome to live coverage of stage 17 of the Tour de France. Yesterday, we had the longest stage. Today, it's the shortest.

    But there are four huge climbs and three fast descents to contend with - so expect plenty of action.

  85. Post update

    Thiabaut Pinot

    "I imagined that Pinot (pictured) was attacking to get a bit of a margin before the downhill," was Valverde's excuse for being dropped on this hill while Nibali insisted: "I was getting some energy gels from my back pocket. It wasn't that I got dropped."

    Both plausible excuses, but it takes nothing away from Pinot's impressive performance on the climbs. With four of them on today's stage 17 route, there's every chance the script could be well and truly ripped up.

  86. Post update

    L'Equipe

    The French sport daily L'Equipe splashed Thibaut Pinot on its front page after the Frenchman's stunning exploits on the climb of Port de Bales in yesterday's stage.

    "Barring an earthquake, a Frenchman will be on the podium in Paris," wrote the paper.

    Pinot has moved into third overall, after dropping race leader Vincenzo Nibali and second-placed Alejandro Valverde on the ascent of the final climb.

    He was caught on the fast descent, something of a weakness for the FDJ rider, but proved nonetheless that he will be very much in the mix, if not for the overall victory but at least second-place on the podium come Paris.

  87. Post update

    Bernard Hinault was the last French victor, winning his fifth and final yellow jersey in 1985.

    You still have to go back 17 years since the last French rider made the podium, Richard Virenque achieving the feat.

    But this year, at long last, is different. There is not one, not two, but three riders in the top five, prompting the French sporting public and press to get very excited.

  88. Post update

    It's been a testing Tour for the British, who began with such high hopes for defending champion Chris Froome and serial stage winner Mark Cavendish.

    But for the French, it's been something of a renaissance for the host nation who have waited 29 excruciatingly long years for a home winner.