It’s beginning to look as if the very strong team of Sky is unbeatable this year. Their success has been explained by their discipline and plan. They can usually be seen riding at the front of the peloton and setting the pace – fast but not too fast – to discourage challengers. When a challenger for the race leader pops off the front, the boys in blue pick up the pace a little and ride him down.
With much of the race behind them, Froome has a two minute 27 second advantage over Bauke Mollema, Trek, who sits in second place.
Nairo Quintana, Movistar, who was expected to mount a real challenge failed to answer the call today on the final climb. He later told the media that he was having a bad day. Perhaps stage 18 will be more to his liking. It is an individual time trial up a mountain.
First across the finish line on Wednesday was Ilnur Zakarin, Katusha. He has been selected by the Russian Olympic Committee to go to Rio. Whether he will see Rio is still up in the air as the IOC is considering banning all Russian athletes because of the state sponsored drug scandal.
There were crashes early in the stage that saw some riders withdraw from the competition. Gorka Izaguirre, Movistar and Borut Bozic, Confidis were forced to abandon because of injuries. Mark Cavendish, DDD, pulled out to finish off his pre-Olympic training.
Stage 17 Standings
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