Stage 17 Recap
Stage 17 presented the riders with the greatest challenge on the tour so far with a few massive climbs including the infamous l’Alpe d’Huez.
The lead group remained together throughout the entire race, nobody letting anyone else break off from the pack until the beginning of the climb up l’Alpe d’Huez when Carlos Sastre from Team CSC attacked and nobody had an answer for him. Sastre finished about 2:15 up on the rest of the leaders, putting him about 1:30 ahead of Cadel Evans overall and setting up what will be a tour-deciding time trial on Saturday. Sastre will need to summon the power of the yellow jersey on Saturday if he wants to win because Evans is a far superior time trialist.
Today was far and away the best stage of racing yet in terms of the overall race. This year’s tour has continued to be one of the best in recent history in terms of how close the race is. Even now, nobody knows who will win because it was thought that Sastre would need about 1:30 to 2:00 on Evans going into the time trial just to have a chance. I’m a little disappointed that Vandevelde wasn’t able to pick up some time so that he would at least have a chance, but he’ll finish in the top-10, which is great considering he is basically doing this without a team to help him (unlike Sastre).
Here’s to a great time trial on Saturday.