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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, July 21, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

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Tour de France stage 17 team reports

We posted the race organizer's report with the results.

Here's the report from stage winner Tadej Pogacar's UAE Team Emirates:

Tadej Pogačar won his third stage in this Tour de France in a thrilling finale, crossing the finish line first on Peyragudes.

Tadej Pogacar just beats Jonas Vingegaard to the top. Sirotti photo

The stage saw the riders face the Pyrenees again with a shark-toothed profile from Saint-Gaudens to Peyragudes over 129km.

Despite UAE Team Emirates showing up at the start with only four men after Marc Soler’s forced retirement yesterday and Rafal Majka today following a muscle injury, the UAE squad lit up the stage.

Mikkel Bjerg took up the work for the second half of the stage at the head of the group keeping a very high pace for many kilometers without giving the escape a chance to gain precious seconds.

Brandon McNulty took over on the second ascent of the day. The American set an incredible pace which he would hold for the final 20km with only Tadej Pogačar and the Yellow Jersey Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) able to keep up with him.

Over the crest of the penultimate climb Pogačar tried to detach Vingegaard, with McNulty coming back to dictate the pace and lead the trio up to the last 500 meters, where Pogačar pushed hard to take victory.

Third place for McNulty, awarded as the most combative rider of the day.

Pogačar: “The way the team rode today, we couldn’t help but aim for victory. Without George, Rafal, Marc and Vegard we still managed to give our best. Let’s see how it goes tomorrow, but for the moment I’m very happy with this victory. In the final I gave everything, I knew I couldn’t do anything other than win, I owed it to the team. Marc, Brandon and Mikkel did a great job and we were able to give each other strength. There is still an important stage tomorrow and I want to give my best.”

Tomorrow the last Pyrenean stage is 143.2 km from Lourdes to Hautacam with three decisive ascents in the second half of the race.

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Here's the report from GC leader Jonas Vingegaard's Team Jumbo-Visma:

Jonas Vingegaard’s yellow leader's jersey has not been jeopardised in the second Pyrenees stage. In the tough stage to Peyragudes, the Dane of Team Jumbo-Visma held his own by finishing just behind stage winner Tadej Pogacar.

Vingegaard and Pogacar were the only ones who could follow the scorching pace of Brandon McNulty, Pogacar’s teammate, on the penultimate climb. On the Peyragudes, McNulty brought the two rivals to the line. Although Vingegaard launched the sprint, Pogacar won.

"Of course I would have liked to win the stage, but a finish like this just suits him better”, Vingegaard said. "It was a fight today and I am happy I could follow Pogacar and McNulty. It isn’t nice to be isolated on the penultimate climb, but I definitely can't blame the guys. They worked hard."

Brandon McNulty leading Vingegaard and Pogacar near the stage finish. Sirotti photo

Sports director Grischa Niermann saw that Vingegaard had good legs again. "Jonas lost four seconds, but he held up well. We can be satisfied with the second place and the level that Jonas has shown. Of course we had hoped he would win the stage, but this finish was perfect for Pogacar."

With one challenging Pyrenees stage to go, things are starting to look brighter and brighter for Vingegaard. However, the Dane does not want to look too far ahead. "I take it day by day. Tomorrow Pogacar will try again and then it's up to me to follow him. Tomorrow's climb is longer and suits me better."

Wout van Aert virtually secured his green jersey earlier in the day. "This morning, I didn't know I could secure the jersey already. But at the intermediate sprint, there was no breakaway yet so that I could take the points quite easily”, Van Aert said.

The green jersey holder doesn't want to celebrate too soon. "I still have to stay on my bike and make it to Paris. If I can wear that jersey on Sunday night, I have achieved my goal. Of course I would be very proud of that."

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GC third-place Geraint Thomas' Team INEOS Grenadiers posted this report:

Geraint Thomas dug deep and used all of his experience to finish fourth on stage 17 at the Tour de France.

The Welshman extended his third-placed advantage out to two minutes and 57 seconds over Nairo Quintana (Arkea Samsic) with a measured performance on another brutal day of climbing.

Geraint Thomas near the finish. Sirotti photo

Opting not to try and follow the stinging pace of UAE Team Emirates and the yellow jersey, Thomas settled into his own rhythm and was able to finish solo atop Peyragudes.

Adam Yates became distanced on the Hourquette d’Ancizan climb and battled hard to remain in the top 10 overall. The Brit sits ninth on the GC, 14:33 back, after finishing 21st on the stage. Tom Pidcock also became distanced on the same climb and now holds 15th overall.

Dylan van Baarle and Jonathan Castroviejo were present in the day’s break, which took until the Col d’Aspin to go clear. The pair finished 17th and 19th respectively on the stage, helping the team further extend their advantage in the team classification to 31:39.

Geraint Thomas:
"I felt alright but didn’t feel quite as light on the pedals as I’ve done earlier in the race. I just wasn’t feeling tip-top today. I was there but I made the call to wait for the group behind rather than try and battle and go into the red trying to get back to the group, blowing up and risk losing even more time. I waited for the group behind, saved the legs a bit and was able to ride a solid pace all the way to the line then.

"Fair play to [UAE] they really took that on and Pogacar deserved it. Chapeau to him."

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And here's the report from Romain Bardet's Team DSM:

Romain Bardet crossed the line at the end of a tough mountain stage on day 17 of the Tour de France in sixth place after an offensive display from the team throughout the race.

Romain Bardet having a much better day today than the day before. Sirotti photo

The short 129.7 kilometre stage from Saint-Gaudens featured four categorised climbs, including a mountain top finish atop Peyragudes. No attacks stuck on the flatter run in to the base of the first climb however as soon as the road started to rise, the first real move of the day established itself – seventeen riders including Chris Hamilton and Andreas Leknessund.

With the gap hovering just below one minute, Bardet jumped clear from the group behind halfway up the Col d’Aspin before bridging across ahead of the top of the climb. The three worked well in the lead group over the second climb of the day before eventually bridging over to two leaders who had sat out front since the Col d’Aspin.

On the penultimate climb Leknessund went clear at the front of the race however with the yellow jersey group keeping the lead group close at hand all day he was eventually caught before the top, after Bardet had also been swept up by the yellow jersey, Vingegaard, as well as Pogacar who also had a teammate with him. Leknessund and Bardet regrouped over the top ahead of the final climb to chase back to a small group in front before Bardet pushed ahead on the final climb, eventually coming home in sixth, moving up three places on the GC to sixth in the process.

Romain said after the stage finish: “I’m really happy with the day. I think as a team we can be proud of the way we rode. We wanted to bounce back from yesterday and we went out as we planned in the meeting – a few of us in the front and then for me to go for it. We can have no regrets, we left everything out on the road. It’s a pretty good day and good for the morale.”

Team DSM coach Matt Winston also commented: “I think it was a really good day for the team, bouncing back from yesterday’s disappointment and really getting stuck in today. Three guys in the breakaway where we worked well as a team to get the three climbers in there. Andreas went solo on the climb and did a good job out front, then Romain got caught by the yellow jersey group. He tried to hang on as long as possible and then once he was dropped and Andreas was caught we told Andreas to wait for Romain and work together towards the final climb. From there it was just down to the legs.

“We moved up three stages and we’ll keep looking to go for stages tomorrow and the coming days but the GC move is a nice bonus and a reward for the work the guys showed today.”

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