First and second at La Roche-sur-Foron, the first European town to have installed public electricity lights back in 1885, Michal Kwiatkowski and Richard Carapaz crossed the line and that order but celebrated the triumph together. It’s the first Tour de France stage victory for Ineos, coming after the last one under the colours of Team Sky by Geraint Thomas at L’Alpe d’Huez in 2018. Kwiatkowski’s last victory was the 2018 Tour de Pologne. This is the first Tour de France stage win for the 2014 world champion turned a domestique until the withdrawal of defending champion Egan Bernal.
BENNETT WINS INTERMEDIATE SPRINT FROM 32-MAN BREAKAWAY
150 riders started stage 17 at Méribel. 32 riders managed to go clear before the intermediate sprint at Aime, km 14: Jonathan Castroviejo, Richard Carapaz, Michal Kwiatkowski, Dylan Van Baarle (Ineos Grenadiers), Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), Nans Peters (Ag2r La Mondiale), Sam Bennett, Bob Jungels (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Rudy Molard, Sébastien Reichenbach (Groupama-FDJ), Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-McLaren), Alberto Bettiol, Tejay Van Garderen (EF Education First), Dayer Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic), Dario Cataldo, Nelson Oliveira, José Joaquín Rojas, Carlos Verona (Movistar Team), Simon Geschke, Matteo Trentin (CCC Team), Nicolas Edet, Jesús Herrada (Cofidis), Luis León Sánchez (Astana Pro Team), Jasper de Buyst, Thomas de Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), Krists Neilands (Israel Start-Up Nation), Michael Gogl, Michael Valgren (NTT Pro Cycling), Nikias Arndt, Marc Hirschi, Soren Kragh Andersen, Nicolas Roche (Team Sunweb). B&B Hotels-Vital Concept, one of the six teams who weren’t represented at the front, pulled the peloton. Bennett won the intermediate sprint over Trentin and Sagan to increase his lead in the points classification.
HIRSCHI OUTSPRINTS CARAPAZ AND CRASHES
The sprinters lost contact in the climb to Cormet de Roselend (km 46). At the top, 19 riders formed the front group, including Damiano Caruso (Bahrain-McLaren) who had bridged the gap by himself while Julian Alaphilippe and Rémi Cavagna (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe), Romain Sicard (Total Direct Energie), Quentin Pacher and Pierre Rolland (B&B Hotels-Vital) had tried but failed to do so. Hirschi outsprinted Carapaz to take 10 points in the KOM competition. They forged on and were eventually rejoined at the front by Edet, Kwiatkowski and Bilbao. Edet was first to get dropped 3km before the summit of Les Saisies (km 91) where Hirschi outsprinted Carapaz once again but the Frenchman from Cofidis made it back to the front just after the Swiss crashed as he tried to follow the Equatorian who sped up in the descent.
CARAPAZ THE KING OF THE MOUNTAINS
Up to col des Aravis (km 117.5), Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic) was the first top climber dropped by the yellow jersey group that had a 7’30’’ deficit at the bottom of the second last categorized climb. Edet was dropped again and overhauled by Hirschi. The Swiss neophyte was close (25’’) to making it across on the way up to col des Saisies but he eventually paid for the side effects of his crash. Therefore, Carapaz could make the best of his offensive attitude in search of the polka dot jersey. In the Montée du Plateau des Glières, the Ineos duo (Carapaz-Kwiatkowski) dropped Bilbao 3.5km before the summit. Mikel Landa (Bahrain-McLaren) rode away from the yellow jersey group but he got brought back just before the summit as Pogacar attacked to score some KOM points. Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) punctures on the gravel section of Plateau des Glières. It took him 20km to make it back to the yellow jersey group as the last ten kilometres were looming and only two riders remained ahead of them. Carapaz and Kwiatkowski rode the last 27km together. They shared their celebration with the crowd in the last 800 metres. Logically, Kwiatkowski took the win while Carapaz moved into the lead of the KOM competition with two points more than Pogacar. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) made sure that none of Primoz Roglic’s rivals took the time bonus of the third place so the Slovenian retained the yellow jersey with the same advantage over his three closest adversaries meanwhile Landa entered the top 5.