Tour de France (st. 17)
Nairo tries to go on attack at Croix de Fer, 130km from Serre Chevalier's finish; ends up empty at Galibier, finishes again outside overall top-ten (12th). Roglic (TLJ) wins stage as Froome (SKY) retains yellow
Nairo Quintana's (Movistar Team) tenacity led the Colombian into a very early attempt to shine on the first Alpìne stage of the 2017 Tour de France, despite feeling way down from his best physical condition. The 'Cóndor' was the first of the top-ten GC contenders to go offensive on a huge mountain day, with four rated climbs, the second of which -La Croix de Fer (HC)- saw the 27-year-old from Boyacá jumping away 130km from the finish.
Kept close by Team Sky at an initial acceleration, the second one, together with Contador (TFS), made his suffering evident and forced Nairo to follow the pace of the bunch -behind a 30-man breakaway with two of the Blues, Jesús Herrada and Jonathan Castroviejo– until the foot of the Galibier, where his team-mates were reeled in as he set his own pace.
Quintana would cover the highest climb of this Tour solo and cross the line 7'47" behind Primoz Roglic (TLJ), 6' down on a first GC group where Froome, Landa (SKY), Bardet (ALM) and Urán (CDT) put half a minute on Martin (QST), Aru (AST) and Meintjes (UAD). Nairo now sits in 12th spot -with Betancur in 18th- at the overall standings of a 2017 Tour whose last major climbs will be covered on Thursday's 180km stage 18 from Briançon: Vars (Cat-1) and Izoard (HC).
Nairo Quintana: "It was another day fighting, another day suffering. A tough end in the Galibier, yet we were able to finish in one piece. I don't have any legs, so our only goal until the end will be just finishing the race, staying on course until Paris. Another tough day is coming tomorrow."