Tour de France Stage 17 Preview

Wednesday, 17 July - stage 17: Embrun - Chorges, 32km individual time trial

 
















Stage 17 sees the riders take on the second of two individual time trials in this year’s tour.  The first time trial saw some of Chris Froome’s main contenders in the GC slip up as they struggled to match the Kenyan born Brit’s pace on the pan flat profile. However, despite being of a similar length at just 32 kilometres, stage 17 should prove a different story. Mountain specialist like Quintana and Rodriguez should be able to cut their losses, whilst Contador should be finishing well inside the 2’ 3’’ he managed behind Froome in stage 11.


The Route
The route, from the profile, is clearly hilly and technical. Starting in the scenic town of Embrun in South East France the stage starts off with a tuff ascent and after just 6.5 km the riders will pass the first of two category 2 climbs. The Côte de Puy-Sanières peaks at 1173m and will test the riders as they tackle the 6.4 kilometre-long climb at 6% on their own without any team or peloton support. A short downhill follows taking the riders towards the picturesque lac de serre poncon; one of the largest artificial lakes in Western Europe before reaching the foot of the second climb; Côte de Réallon. Similar in profile to the first climb, the Côte de Réallon is slightly longer and steeper, a 6.9 kilometre-long climb at 6.3%, and the effects of the first climb could take their toll here. A technical descent will see the riders enter the streets of Chorges.

History

Stage 17 will be the first time the tour has finished in Mont Chorges. In terms of hilly time trials, the 2009 tour de France contained a similar lakeside time trial in Annecy. On that occasion, Alberto Contador claimed victory to cement his hold on the yellow jersey.  Last year’s Vuelta also saw a hilly time trail on stage 11 and Joaquim Rodriguez showed that the climb in the middle really could suit some of the less qualified time trialests in GC contention. He finished 7th on that occasion, 4 places above world time trial champion, Tony Martin.

Favourites

The clear favourite has to be Sky’s Chris Froome following his dominating displays in stage 8 and on Mont Ventoux, combined with his excellent pedigree in the time trial. Finishing 2nd on stage 11’s time trial, the Olympic time trail bronze medallist will be hoping to further stamp his authority in this year’s tour. Alberto Contador will be eager to put in a good showing in order to overtake Bauke Mollema in the GC standings. Mollema has put in a great performance so far in this year’s tour but is less technically suited to tomorrow’s stage as some of his GC rivals. Following his display in the hilly time trial in this year’s edition of the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco, where he finished second to Tony Martin and almost a minute ahead of Contador, Nairo Quintana will enter the stage as a favourite. Quintana has been in really good form in this year’s tour and despite losing lots of time in stage11’s time trial, will be keen to earn himself a place on the podium in Paris. Expect Tony Martin to be up challenging for the stage victory despite not being perfectly suited to the hilly terrain. De Gendt, Porte and Kwiatkowski, who finished 3rd 4th and 5th respectively on stage 11 will definitely be prominent and contesting for a top five finish in today’s stage.  Meanwhile Jean-Christophe Péraud continues his stealthy raid into the top-10 and could consolidate his position.

Weather

Another potential key factor in today’s stage could be the possibility of some thunderstorms in the afternoon. With riders starting at different times, a thunderstorm could severely affect the results. Froome also said in a recent interview that he hopes it doesn’t rain because he isn’t suited to the conditions. Any rider caught up in harsh condition on one of the two descents will have to be extra cautious.  
10 am to 12 pm: sunny then clouds. 22-24°C.
12pm to 2pm: Lots of clouds, small showers. 22-24°C.
2pm to 4pm: big thunderstorms. 20-24°C
4pm to 6pm: thunderstorms. 22°C

TV

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