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Tour de France Stage 17: Zakarin wins, Froome extends lead once again (+ video)

Katusha gets its first victory in this year's race...

Katusha’s Ilnur Zakarin has won Stage 17 of the Tour de France at Finhaut-Emosson on a day when race leader Chris Froome once again took time out of his main rivals for the yellow jersey.

In a 184 kilometre stage from Bern played out entirely in IAM Cycling’s home country of Switzerland,  Jarlinson Pantan was second nearly a minute behind the Russian, while Tinkoff’s Rafal Majka finished third and extends his lead in the mountains competition.

All three had been members of the day’s break that formed late on with the early part of the stage raced at a frantic pace, but passing under the 10 kilometres to go banner, it was Pantano, seeking his second stage win of the race on Colombia’s national day, and Majka who led.

Zakarin bridged across, however, and rode away from the pair to bring Katusha its first success in this year’s race.

Behind them, in the overall contenders’ group, Team Sky rode strongly to negate attacks from riders including Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde and Dan Martin of Etixx-Quick Step.

It was an attack around 2 kilometres out from BMC Racing’s Richie Porte that led to a shake-up in the General Classification, putting second overall Bauke Mollema of Trek Segafredo in trouble.

Only Froome was able to go with Porte, who finished tenth on the stage, 7 minutes 59 seconds behind the winner, and rises from seventh to fifth overall.

Orica-BikeExchange’s Adam Yates finished a handful of seconds behind them to close the gap on Mollema, while Movistar’s Nairo Quinatan – runner-up to Froome in both 2013 and 2015 – lost half a minute to his rival.

Froome now leads by 2 minutes 27 seconds from Mollema, with Yates a further 26 seconds back ahead of tomorrow’s 17 kilometre mountain time trial from Sallanches to Megeve.

"After I crashed at the Giro with two days to go, I was very disappointed but I quickly underwent a surgery," said Zakarin.

"I didn't miss any time in my rehabilitation so I could stick to the plan to come to the Tour de France but during the first two weeks, I didn't have any other goal but stay out of trouble and work for Alexander Kristoff.

"The goal was to win a stage in the third week, we're very happy we made it.

"In the future I want to win a Grand Tour and the Tour de France has my priority. It's the most important race of the year.

"We'll analyse this season first and then determine which Grand Tour I should target to race for the overall win next year,” he added.

Speaking of his close friend and former Sky team mate, Froome said: “I don't think it was possible to go faster than Richie at the end. I didn't need to pull. Today was the only the first of a block of four difficult days in the mountains. Tomorrow it'll be more critical.

"Leading the Tour de France is about dealing with being in the yellow jersey and going to the press conference every day. At the beginning, you feel the pressure when you find yourself in this position. Now it's easier, I'm more relaxed," he concluded.

Here's the onboard footage of today's stage.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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jasecd | 7 years ago
1 like

So GC is sewn up then. Froome is undoubtedly the strongest rider in the tour but the strength of the Sky team has made it somewhat easy for him and blunted the ability of many of the contenders to attack. Good for Froome but I'm not sure it is so good for the race...

Altimis | 7 years ago

I am surprised to see Zakarin appearing on screen since Stage 16 on the front of the race

I thought he still injured prior to Giro accidents which his collarbone was broken

Good to see him snatch some win in Tour though  1

tritecommentbot | 7 years ago

If I was Quintana I'd probably avoid Youtube after the Tour is over. No-one wants to see montages of themselves getting dropped repeatedly after a tough stage race. enlightened

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