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A Hasbeen's look at Stage 17

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I've tried to keep this in the form that Trev made his own, though the website only lets me post 5 pictures. Hope you enjoy it.


Stage 17 : Digne-les-Bains - Pra Loup 161 km
Tonight will be an interesting stage, the first of 4 in the Alps, and the first day after a rest day. Most of the riders will have had a good hit-out yesterday to try to keep their legs accustomed to the grind of the tour, but we may see some unexpected results.

While the southern Alps ski resort of Pra Loup only welcomed two stages of the Tour de France, it was the theater of one of the turning points in cycling history: the end of Eddy Merckx's reign in 1975. After having won five editions of the Tour de France, “the Cannibal” suffered a major blow on the final climb of stage 15. Making it to Pra Loup with a 2-minute time deficit, Merckx would lose his last Yellow Jersey, headed to the shoulders of Bernard Thévenet. The Frenchman claimed his sixth Tour stage, a victory that would allow him to add his name, a few days later, on the victory list of the event.

Race Director’s View :
Eddy Merckx can witness this: the climbs up to the Col d'Allos followed by the one to Pra Loup are fearsome and can really trouble the established hierarchy. Like in 1975, the intense battle should start as soon as they climb up to the Col d'Allos. Forty years after, who will be the next Bernard Thévenet?

Along the way:


The site of Digne-les-Bains predates Roman conquest, with human settlement dating back to neolithic times. The presence of 3 rivers and hot springs made it ideal for human habitation. With Roman occupation it was named Dinia in the 1st Century and became a commercial centre on the trade routes of the area. From 780, the town was known as Digne, and then in 1988 the current name of Digne-les-Bains was formalised.





Géoparc de Haute Provence
Home to the largest geological nature reserve in Europe, Geoparc de Haute Provence (the first such site listed by UNESCO) is noted for its great variety of landscapes and biodiversity, especially rich in fossils like the Dalle aux Ammonites (Ammonites Stone).




The gateway into the Géoparc de Haute Provence, Musée-Promenade is a unique site comprising a park in which paths and brooks interlace while waterfalls and works of art mingle. Overlooking Digne les Bains, the park welcomes visitors and engrosses them into the universe and leads them to understand the last 300 million years of the history of the Earth. The Cairn exhibition centre and the Butterfly garden complete the site.



Alexandra David-Néel House

Born in Paris in 1868, Alexandra David-Neel settled in Digne after becoming one of the very few ladies in the last century to have made her name for herself in the world of exploration and adventure. She was the first western woman of the last century to step into the forbidden city of Lhasa, Tibet, in 1924. After 25 years of adventure, Alexandra David-Néel found in Digne-les-Bains the serenity she sought to write and landscapes which reminded her of Tibet. She dubbed the Digne pre-Alps "a Tibet for Liliputians". She left her house to the municipality to turn into a museum of Himalayan culture. Listed as a historical site, the house is also one of 110 Illustrious Houses in France and also belongs to the Houses of Writers and Literary Heritage.



Archaeological Crypt /Notre Dame du Bourg

Thirty years of works beneath the Notre Dame du Bourg revealed one of the largest crypts in Europe. An exceptional archaeological site of 870 m2 to evoke a history of 20 centuries. The archaeological crypt of Notre-Dame du Bourg offers a unique insight into the urban and architectural evolution of Digne-les-Bains with the discovery of the foundations and remains of buildings constructed between the 1st and the 13th century.




Notre Dame du Bourg


Golf of the Lavenders

The 18-hole golf course is located in an exceptional setting of lavender at the foot of the summits of Haute-Provence. Golf is only one of many sporting activities to practice n Digne-les-Bains like trekking with 866 km of foot paths, cycling on the road network or on the 20 kms of cycling roads or the 390 km of mountain-bike trails.



Pra Loup

Founded as a ski resort in the 1960’s, the main investors in this town were the descendants of over 2500 inhabitants of the valley below who had emigrated to Mexico from the 1820’s.



The resort:

With 180 km of pistes, it is one of the attractive destinations of the Southern Alps. A grandiose panorama in a site on which the sun reflects on the snow slopes. In the summer, the resort unfolds its mountain bike courses for riders of all levels.



Col de la Bonnette

The highest road in Europe, the Bonette (2,802 metres) is an ancient link between the Alps and the Mediterranean. It has been the highest point of the Tour de France.



Mexican Barcelonnette

The history of Barcelonnette is forever linked to Mexico, where more than 2,500 inhabitants od the Ubaye valley emigrated from 1820. Some made considerable fortune and built sumptuous villas for themselves in their homeland. Barcelonnette and Mexico are still maintaining close ties.



Ubaye, a mythical river

It is one of the rare rivers in Europe to remain entirely untouched by man. With a 700 metres vertical drop over 52 km, it also contains all types of rapids. More than 15 bases allow rafters or canoeists to practise their sport

Team Websites

Current Jersey Leaders


Christopher Froome (Team Sky)
Peter Sagan (Tinkoff Saxo)

Christopher Froome (Team Sky) (will be worn by Joachim Rodriguez Oliver)
Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Movistar)
Peter Sagan (Tinkoff Saxo) [Most combatative rider]








Final Climbs

Km 40.0 - Col des Lèques 6 km at 5.3% - category 3

Km 67.0 - Col de Toutes Aures 6.1 km at 3.1% - category 3

Km 96.0 - Col de la Colle-Saint-Michel (1 431 m) 11 km at 5.2% - category 2

Km 139.0 - Col d'Allos ( 2 250 m) 14 km at 5.5% - category 1

Km 161.0 - PRA LOUP (1 620 m) 6.2 km at 6.5% - category 2

Intermediate Sprints
Km 111.0 - Beauvezer

General Classification:-


1 Christopher Froome (Team Sky) 64:47:16

2 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Movistar) 0:03:10

3 Tejay Van Garderen (BMC Racing) 0:03:32

4 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Movistar) 0:04:02

5 Alberto Contador Velasco (Tinkoff Saxo) 0:04:23

6 Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) 0:05:32

7 Robert Gesink (Lotto NL - Jumbo) 0:06:23

8 Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Pro Team) 0:07:11

9 Bauke Mollema (Belkin) 0:08:53

10 Warren Barguil (Giant - Alpecin) 0:11:03



Points Classification:-


1 Peter Sagan (Cannondale) 377pnts

2 Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) 316

3 John Degenkolb (Giant – Alpecin) 264

4 Mark Cavendish (Etixx – Quickstep) 192

5 Bryan Coquard (Team Europcar) 122



Mountains Classification:-


1 Christopher Froome (Sky) 61pnts

2 Joachim Rodriguez Oliver (Team Katusha) 52

3 Jakob Fulsang (Astana Pro Team) 41

4 Richie Porte (Team Sky) 40

5 Romain Bardet (AG2R Mondiale) 38



Young Rider Classification:-


1 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Movistar) 64:50:26

2 Warren Barguil (Giant - Alpecin) 0:07:53

3 Romain Bardet (AG2R Mondiale) 0:10:00






Synopsis :-
Stage 17 will seem familiar to a number of the riders this week. The route was used for stage 5 of the Criterium du Dauphine in June. On that day, it was Romain Bardet who was successful, riding away from the likes of Van Garderen , Froome, Valverde & Nibali on the Col d’Allos, extending it on the descent and then holding to win by 36sec at the finish. With a poor first week, he has come back into some form this past week and may be looking to repeat his victory.

It is likely it will be the Col d’Allos, and then its descent that will be used by any serious climbers or GC contenders to make a winning break, with two category 3 and a category 2 climb before it, and then the category 2 climb to the finish. With only 1:13 separating 2nd from 5th, be prepared for an exciting climb of the col, then a hair-raising descent before the fireworks really start on the 6.2km (6.5%) climb to Pra-Loup. Valverde is only 30s behind Van Garderen, looking at that 3rd spot on the podium, and after Tejay showing a little frailty on the sharp climbs of stage 14, he may well try to make up that time tonight.

Rodriguez is wearing the polka-dot jersey tonight for Chris Froome, but he will have eyes on making it his own. There are only a few mountain points up for grabs before the Col d’Allos tonight, so I don’t think he will go with the break early, but Katusha will work to bring them back before the Col, to allow Joachim to try for the points that could put him in the lead in that competition.

Riders to watch :-
I don’t think the break will be successful tonight, after having a few successes this year, as there will be a few riders after the points on the climbs at the end, and the GC boys (especially those in the minor places) wanting to shake each other up a bit.

Viewer Rating = 8 of 10 (The final descent gets it up from 7)

Race starts = 8:45pm (AEST)
Approx finish time = 1:00am (AEST)
SBS coverage starts at 10pm (AEST)
GUW Time = 11:30pm (AEST) (Get Up to Watch).

Who's your tip?
Valverde, Froome, Contador. I can see Van Garderen falling back a little more tonight.

Edited by Ex-Hasbeen
  • Like 6

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As an outsider chance, I would love to see Bardet trying everything to replicate his Dauphine win on this stage, and also move into the top 10. It'll be harder here, with Froome in better form, and more of the big names chasing time, but if he gets away on Col d'Allos it could give him the incentive to hold out.

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Bardet claiming the stage win and moving up would do very good things for my team and I think we can all agree that that is the most important thing.

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An interesting fact from the 1975 stage that used the same two final climbs as tonight's stage.


Giancarlo Ferretti (most recently manager of Fasso Botolo) was the driver of the Bianchi team car at the time. He was following his rider down the Col d'Allos who was chasing Merckx. He lost control of the car on the descent and went down a 150m ravine, amazingly surviving. It was the same day Merckx wore yellow for the last time at the tour, falling apart on the last climb of the day up to Pra-Loup.

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This stage has got a long range attack from contrador written all over it.

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Contador could easily make enough time on the descent to put him on the podium, especially if someone like Nibali went with him, or rather if he went with someone like Nibali. What was that quote from Trev yesterday? "Hospital or win."

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Wtf happened to Tejay?!?


Sounds like he may be sick

Edited by Steno

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Those, Cat 2-3 climbs don't look hard enough to impact the race.


Agree that descending will be worth a look if 2-3 riders go down close together.


I do agree that the race for the podium spots can be on here. Froome immune of course.

Edited by Kamal2

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The climb up Allos


The descent near the top. Is an extremely technical descent with the typical ankle high walls guarding the drop into the valley below. Thankfully the forecast rain is holding off... Will be risky enough at full gas in the dry!


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