Wednesday, July 20, 2011
2011 Tour de France, Stage 17
The Norwegians continued their winning ways with Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) winning the 17th stage, 179 km, from Gap to Pinerolo in Italy. "I wanted to win this stage because I was so close yesterday," said Boasson Hagen. "I'm really happy. Yesterday's stage is almost forgotten now."
The Pramartino climb and descent was the key factor in the stage for both Boasson Hagen and the GC contenders. Boasson Hagen, in a breakaway group, attacked his companions on the ascent and bombed the descent to take the solo victory in Pinerolo. In the GC group, Contador went on the attack on the climb and the descent. It appeared that he and fellow countryman Samuel Sanchez would work together on the descent and gain time on the GC contenders but by the finish they had come together with the exception of Thomas Voeckler who strayed off course into the parking area of a private home and could not get back to the group. Voeckler: "Technically, I went above my capacities. I didn't take time to think of what I was doing, especially when I ended up in a car park. I closed my eyes, I jumped my front wheel over the sidewalk, I was still on my bike when I re-opened my eyes, so I turned back and I went on racing but my companions were gone."
Damiano Cunego: "Nothing is decided yet, I'll give my best in the next very tough stages".
How the GC contenders figured in the stage:
1 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling at 4:18:00
17 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek 0:04:26
18 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - ISD
19 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
20 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team
22 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank Sungard
24 Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek
28 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar 0:04:53
30 Thomas Danielson (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo
31 Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
Top 10 GC:
1 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar 73:23:49
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:01:18
3 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek 0:01:22
4 Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek 0:02:36
5 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:02:59
6 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank Sungard 0:03:15
7 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - ISD 0:03:34
8 Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:03:49
9 Thomas Danielson (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo 0:06:04
10 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling 0:07:36
Stage 18, Thursday:
The TdF official analysis of this stage:
“We return to France and there are three very big cols on the menu. The Agnel will be tackled for the first time ever from this side, then there’s the Izoard and its legendary Casse Déserte, followed by the Galibier. This will be our chance to celebrate the centenary of this mythic climb’s first appearance on the race route back in the 1911 Tour de France. In addition, the finish, located at an altitude of 2,645 metres, will be the highest in the race’s history. It will remove from the history books the place held since 1986 by the 2,413m Col du Granon. This stage will certainly see a match-up between all those riders who are in contention for the overall title, as will the stage the following day. Whoever is leading the race runs the risk of succumbing to such physical demands.”
Contador commenting about stage 18: "I think the toughest stage is tomorrow and the final part of the Galibier is very exposed and the gradients are very demanding. It will all depend on the direction the wind comes from. Alpe D'Huez (stage 19) is short and explosive but tomorrow's stage is definitely harder."
Photos: Boasson Hagen (Bettini), GC group (Sirotti)
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