Tour de France #17: Big GC day on short stage

Nairo Quintana (Movistar) won stage 17 of the Tour de France, climbing to the victory a top the Col du Portet. Dan Martin (UAE Emirates) finished in 2nd place and the yellow jersey, Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) finished in 3rd place.

Stage 17 of the Tour de France was a much anticipated stage as at only 65km, it was the shortest road stage in the last 100 years of the race, but packed a mighty punch with over 3000m of climbing. From the start in Bagneres-du-Luchon, the peloton had two category 1 climbs to cover before the finish at the top of the out of category Col du Portet.

For Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, we knew today was not a day for us, it would be decided by the GC favourites. The main objective was for our African Team to ensure all our riders got through the stage within the time limit, which would not be all that much on this short stage.

The fast start saw the climbers come to the fore almost immediately and it was on the 2nd of the 3 climbs where AG2R La Mondiale played their card. Setting a high pace that reduced the race to just 20-odd riders. Team Sky had the advantage with their numbers and took control on the descent towards the final climb.

On the final climb, Martin and Quintana went with an early attack and rode away from the yellow jersey group to a 1-minute lead. Among the main favourites, it was only really the duo from LottoNL-Jumbo, Primoz Roglic and Steven Kruijswijk that could challenge Team Sky. The two pronged attack from the Dutch team cracked Chris Froome but Thomas proved he is the strongest man in the race, matching every move.

Quintana held on to take the stage victory ahead of Martin with Thomas clipping away in the final meters to gain some more time over Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) and Roglic, increasing his race lead. For our African Team, our 5 riders all manged to finish today’s tough stage well within the time limit and will no doubt be targeting tomorrow’s stage victory.

Edvald Boasson Hagen – Rider
It’s nice to get today’s stage done. I thought it was going to be a bit harder than it was so it is good to have finished safely in the time limit. The plan was just to stay with the peloton as long as possible and then ride our own pace, which seemed to work out well for us all. Hopefully we were all able to save a little bit of energy today and can challenge for a result in the coming days.