A former ski jumper won stage 17 and this may not Alberto Contador’s final Tour de France after all.
You could hardly have written it better: a former world junior ski jump champion races down the Tour de France’s highest mountain to win stage 17.
But while Primoz Roglic was celebrating Sloveniaâs first ever Tour stage win, the battle for yellow raged on behind.
Chris Froome came to the line alongside rivals Rigoberto Uran and Romain Bardet, ultimately splitting the pair as he finished third on the day. With bonus seconds applied, it saw the three-time Tour winner extend his narrow advantage in yellow, with Uran and Bardet now both 27 seconds behind.
It is still the closest the battle for podium places has ever been in the Tour at this stage in the race – and it should all kick off again on the way to the Col dâIzoard on Thursday.
Much has been made of fact Team Sky have not held press conferences on either rest day during the race – as is custom for most teams and certainly the ones holding the yellow jersey.
But if the metaphorical barriers have perhaps come up a little bit this year given ongoing investigations into alleged wrongdoing within the team, a very real one came down on Sir Dave Brailsfordâs head on Wednesday. The Sky team principal was speaking to ITV4 when the car park barrier lowered straight on to him mid-interview, but no damage was done.
After his Trek-Segafredo teamâs sports director Steven de Jongh used a rest day interview with Dutch television to say this would be Alberto Contadorâs final Tour de France, the two-time winner sounded less certain. âAs of now, nothing is decided about the future,â he said. âEverything is still on the table.â
De Jongh had suggested Contador would be going for stage wins for the rest of the week in a bid to leave the race with a moment of glory, and whatever his future may be, he certainly did that by leading the charge in the breakaway for much of the day, only to be caught in the final metres of the Galibier.
âIt’s a shame, the 34-year-old Spaniard said. âWe had some riders out in the breakaway and they had more than five minutes. We started the climb and I thought that I would try to do something today. I was feeling strong and my legs were good. It was like doing a time trial and I think that I really paid for my efforts on the Galibier.â
It might look painful, but these legs were still strong enough to put Pawel Poljanski in the dayâs break.
âHe’s got a good poker face, anyone can crack, anyone can have a bad day. It might be his turn tomorrowâ – Dan Martin warns Chris Froome the race is not won yet.
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