Tour de France stage 17: Felix Gall wins as Tadej Pogačar suffers dramatic time loss

Jonas Vingegaard puts nearly six minutes into lead after Slovenian dropped early

Clock16:06, Wednesday 19th July 2023
Felix Gall (AG2R Citroën) crossed the line alone to take the win in Courchevel

© Velo Collection (TDW) / Getty Images

Felix Gall (AG2R Citroën) crossed the line alone to take the win in Courchevel

On a day that promised big GC shake-ups, stage 17 certainly delivered as Felix Gall (AG2R Citroën) took a stage victory that pushed him up the overall standings, whilst behind Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) added more than five minutes to his yellow jersey lead.

The big moment of the day came early on the final climb when Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) dropped out of the yellow jersey group with more than 15km still to race, and eventually losing 5:45 to Vingegaard by the time he finally arrived at the finish.

Dropping Pogačar was not sufficient for Vingegaard, who attacked the rest of his GC rivals on the climb to go past the remnants of the day’s breakaway, and finish fourth on the stage. He couldn’t catch all of the breakaway riders, though, and it was Gall who had been in the move all day who took the stage win, ahead of Simon Yates (Jayco AlUla) and Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious).

“This whole year has been incredible, and now to do so well in the Tour de France, to win the Queen stage, it’s incredible,” Gall said at the finish, now sitting at eighth overall. “I just want to say thank you to the team. They have given me so much.

“It’s not easy to do a three-week stage race, and I have the role of the leader now after a few days, so we slowly focused on that and I was stressing myself a lot about that also. It’s not easy, but the last few days I have been more and more comfortable. I was just afraid that I would be caught in the last kilometres or the last descent. “

Despite the action between the GC riders, the top three remain the same, with Jonas Vingegaard leading from Pogačar and his UAE Team Emirates teammate Adam Yates, albeit now with much bigger time gaps as the race gets closer to Paris.

An important breakaway day

A five-man breakaway group led by polka dot jersey Giulio Ciccone (Lidl-Trek) got away fairly quickly on the first flat kilometres of the stage, but the peloton were not completely happy to let this move go and when the race hit the first categorised climb, the Col de Saisies, the front part of the bunch caught up to the leaders and a much larger breakaway group emerged. A small crash at the base of the climb saw Tadej Pogačar hit the ground, but the white jersey was up and riding again quickly.

Ciccone stayed in the front group, joined by the likes of teammate Mattias Skjelmose, Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious) and Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal-QuickStep), plus Simon Yates (Jayco AlUla) and Felix Gall (AG2R Citroën), who started the day in eighth and 10th on GC. A few riders tried to bridge across, and briefly it looked like the move was establishing ahead, but Jumbo-Visma then hit the front towards the top of the climb to both reel the group back in and force Pogacar to close gaps early on. After less than 30km of racing, everything was together again.

Over the top of the climb, Ciccone was allowed to take maximum points, and the attacks started again onto the descent with Alaphilippe leading the way, followed by Ciccone and Krists Neilands (Israel-Premier Tech). On the flat, the attempts to join the leaders started again, and a big group started to form at the front, with more riders trying to bridge across. Jumbo-Visma settled down on the next climb, allowing the gap to go out to over a minute.

On the Cormet de Roselend, a group of 34 riders finally established itself, including riders from Jumbo-Visma and UAE Team Emirates, plus the likes of Ben O’Connor (AG2R Citroën), Simon Yates and Magnus Cort (EF Education-EasyPost) and many of the earlier attackers. This group was given a three-minute lead, and the situation remained stable during the middle part of the stage.

Going into the final 60km, the racing ramped up with the breakaway riders thinking about the stage win, and the GC group trying to bring the time gap under control with teams like Ineos Grenadiers protecting top 10 positions. Heading towards the final 40km and the Col de la Loze, the yellow jersey group had shrunk to the point where it was smaller than the big group up the road.

As the road started to rise ahead of the official start of the hors catégorie climb, the leaders’ advantage started to come down slightly, but they were still racing hard with a 28km climb ahead of them. The lead group did begin to shrink in the first half of the climb, but it was a waiting game on the long, tough ascent. With 15km to go, Ben O’Connor peeled off after doing a big ride for Felix Gall as he looked to move up on the GC and with two and a half minutes on the yellow jersey group, it looked like the win may go to the breakaway.

The big GC action came sooner than expected when, more than 7km from the top of the climb, Tadej Pogačar dropped from the yellow jersey group - not because of a Jumbo-Visma attack, but a result of the challenging pace they had set all day. The white jersey was joined by teammate Marc Soler, but he looked to be struggling with little chance of getting back to Jonas Vingegaard, losing a minute in a matter of kilometres.

In the breakaway group, Gall was the first to attack, accelerating 6km from the top of the climb but with Simon Yates chasing less than 20 seconds back. Behind, despite already dropping Pogačar, Tiesj Benoot set up Vingegaard to attack, powering away from the favourites with 4km still to climb. His chase was somewhat held up when an incident with a motorbike and a car - and the big crowds - blocked the road towards the top, but the yellow jersey got through safely, albeit slowly, now five minutes ahead of Pogacar.

Gall crested the top of the climb alone, with 20 seconds to defend from Yates on the 6km descent towards the finish. Despite the small gap, the Austrian rider descended skillfully and held on on the final ramp to take victory, his first in a Grand Tour and with enough of a time gap to move up to eighth on GC. Yates finished second, with Bilbao in third whilst Vingegaard overtook the rest of the breakaway riders to finish fourth. Yates also benefitted on the GC, moving up to fifth.

Vingegaard now leads the overall by 7:35 over Pogačar, and 10:45 from Adam Yates with just one big day of climbing to come on stage 20.

Race Results

1

at flag

GALL Felix

AG2R Citroën Team

4H 49' 08"

2

gb flag

YATES Simon

Team Jayco-AlUla

+ 34"

3

es flag

BILBAO Pello

Bahrain Victorious

+ 1' 38"

4

dk flag

VINGEGAARD Jonas

Jumbo-Visma

+ 1' 52"

5

fr flag

GAUDU David

Groupama-FDJ

+ 2' 09"

6

no flag

JOHANNESSEN Tobias Halland

Uno-X Pro Cycling Team

+ 2' 39"

7

au flag

HARPER Chris

Team Jayco-AlUla

+ 2' 50"

8

pl flag

MAJKA Rafal

UAE Team Emirates

+ 3' 43"

9

gb flag

YATES Adam

UAE Team Emirates

"

10

nl flag

KELDERMAN Wilco

Jumbo-Visma

+ 3' 49"

Provided by FirstCycling

Major Races

See All

29 Jun - 21 Jul

fr flag

Tour de France

2.UWT

12 Aug - 18 Aug

fr flag

Tour de France Femmes

2.WWT

2 Jun - 9 Jun

fr flag

Critérium du Dauphiné

2.UWT

6 Jun - 9 Jun

gb flag

Tour of Britain Women

2.WWT

9 Jun - 16 Jun

ch flag

Tour de Suisse

2.UWT

Provided by FirstCycling

Related Content

Link to RideLondon Classique stage 3: Lorena Wiebes wins three from three RideLondon stages
Lorena Wiebes celebrates her third win in this stage race

RideLondon Classique stage 3: Lorena Wiebes wins three from three RideLondon stages

In a tense finale in the capital, Wiebes took victory, Charlotte Kool second and Lotte Kopecky third

Clock
Link to Giro d'Italia stage 21 results: Tim Merlier wins chaotic sprint in Rome as Tadej Pogacar seals overall victory
Tim Merlier wins the final sprint at the Giro d'Italia 2024

Giro d'Italia stage 21 results: Tim Merlier wins chaotic sprint in Rome as Tadej Pogacar seals overall victory

Tadej Pogačar clinched the Giro d'Italia and his third Grand Tour as Tim Merlier took victory in a nervy sprint on the final day

Clock
Link to Giro d'Italia stage 20 results: Tadej Pogačar wins sixth stage and all but seals overall victory
Tadej Pogačar could not wish for much else at this Giro d'Italia

Giro d'Italia stage 20 results: Tadej Pogačar wins sixth stage and all but seals overall victory

Slovenian gets the better of breakaway hopeful Giulio Pellizzari on Monte Grappa, before descending to another dominant victory in final mountain stage

Clock
Link to RideLondon Classique stage 2: Lorena Wiebes sprints to another dominant win in Essex
Lorena Wiebes looks every bit the winner-in-waiting at the RideLondon Classique

RideLondon Classique stage 2: Lorena Wiebes sprints to another dominant win in Essex

SD Worx-Protime sprinter too good for the rest, taking her second win in as many days

Clock
Subscribe to the GCN Newsletter

Get the latest, most entertaining and best informed news, reviews, challenges, insights, analysis, competitions and offers - straight to your inbox