Cycling

Simon Geschke dominates stage 17 of the Tour de France to win in Pra Loup

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Giant-Alpecin's Simon Geschke won in Pra Loup by 30 seconds to Cannondale's Andrew Talansky after a long day in the Alps to take stage 17 of the Tour de France.

Chris Froome meanwhile retained his Yellow Jersey and kept the time gap to his rivals.

Geschke win

Geschke broke away on the Col d'Allos and stayed away as Froome successfully defended his Yellow Jersey, despite persistent attacks from Movistar's Nairo Quintana on the final climb into Pra Loup, with Alberto Contador losing significant time as a result of a mechanical.

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The day's winner Geschke said:

"It's great to get our team's first stage win in this year's Tour. Initially I was working for [John] Degenkolb but when I went over [the Col d'Allos] I felt fine so I went for it."

American rider Talansky, Etixx - Quick-Step's Rigoberto Uran and FDJ's Thibaut Pinot came in second, third and fourth respectively behind Geschke.

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BMC Racing's Tejay van Garderen, who sat third overall at the start of the day, retired on the slopes of the Col de la Colle-Saint-Michel, an 11km category two climb.

Froome said:

"There was a lot going on today what with TJ pulling out. Quintana is still pushing me and I'm feeling alright."

Gains made

Geraint Thomas, remarkably considering the colossal crash he suffered two days ago, gained time over Contador following the Spaniard's mechanical misfortune moving him up to fourth overall, 6'34" behind Froome.

Thomas explained that the stage wasn't easy:

"I didn't feel super but I hung in there and had a grind. For me personally it was a decent day but for Froomey it was great. The team's strong and we're riding really strong too."

Iconic stage

The 161km stage from Digne-les-Bains to Pra Loup - where Bernard Thevenet famously overtook Eddy Merckx to win the Tour de France exactly 40 years ago - covered five Alpine climbs, including the 14km long, category one climb, Col d'Allos.

Geschke broke away from the breakaway on the Col d'Allos and topped the category one mountain with a 57 second gap back to Pinot, and a further 10 minutes ahead of the Yellow Jersey group.

Pinot crashed on a sharp left-hand bend as he nervously chased Geschke, however was able to get back on his bike and give hot pursuit, although much more carefully this time. 

Two of Froome's rivals, Vincenzo Nibali and Quintana, tried attacking on the Col d'Allos but nothing would stick as Richie Porte helped his team mate pull them back.

As the group of Froome descended the Col d'Allos at speed nine minutes back, Geschke had started the final climb of the day up to Pra Loup, with Talansky 59" behind, and Pinot riding with IAM Cycling's Mathias Frank a 1'40" further in arrears to the German.

Geschke gritted his teeth and successfully crossed the line a safe 30 seconds ahead of Talansky.

With Geschke celebrating a superb ride, Froome was sticking to the back wheel of Quintana like glue and wouldn't let him get away and that remained the case to the finish as the little Colombian was unable to extract any time out of the Maillot Jaune.

Thursday's stage 18 is a mean 186.5km route that begins as stage 16 ended, in Gap. It outdoes today's five categorised climbs with seven, including the beastly Col du Glandon - a Hors Categorie (beyond category) juggernaut.

 

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Topics:
Cycling
Tour De France

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