Matteo Trentin delivers Mitchelton-Scott’s fourth stage victory
Matteo Trentin delivered Mitchelton-Scott’s fourth stage victory as three brutal Alpine mountain stages await the peloton!
The the Italian escaped from a big breakaway group on the final climb, to descend down into Gap to take the stage in temperatures of 36C.
Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe kept the Tour de France's overall Yellow jersey and said he was 'ready for the Alps' after the 200km run into Gap at the foothills of the high Alps.
Alaphilippe has four riders within two minutes of his lead as the Tour goes traverses three brutal Alpine stages with defending champion Geraint Thomas at 1min 35 sec behind him in one of the most open races in years.
The peloton let a huge break of 30 riders go away as they took the day off, preparing for what will be the big showdown over the next three days before the finale in Paris.
"It was a peaceful day, it did me good, we preserved energy in this dreadful heat," said Alaphilippe, "I'm ready for the Alps, but I need to detach myself from all this going on around me, my legs are tired, but in my mind I have never felt better," he added.
Rivals have been predicting Alaphilippe would crack under pressure since he took the overall lead but Thomas' co-captain Egan Bernal lying in fifth overall was unsure.
"We all said he'd lose the lead in the Pyrenees, but here we are with just three stages remaining and he's still there," said Team Ineos' Colombian "Hats off to him, he's the one in the lead and he looks strong. But at last we are in the Alps," said impressive climber Bernal, the youngest man in the race.
The victory for Trentin, 29, came after he surged forward alone from a mass breakaway 20 minutes ahead of the main pack, and is a fourth win on the 2019 Tour for the Mitchelton-Scott team after Simon Yates' double and Daryl Impey's victory.
"It's never easy, I was sitting there studying everyone, when it kicked off I just stayed calm in the attacks and I made the move at the right time just ahead of the climb, which won the race," said Trentin, who now has three stage wins on the Tour de France, "All wins are nice, but I have been chasing this one for a while," he added.
The heatwave was a worry at the first century Roman aquaduct Pont du Gard where the stage started, with hundreds of fans seeking refuge from the searing conditions by splashing around in the Gardon river.
But Trentin, Olympic champion Greg van Avermaet and six other previous Tour stage winners led a group of 33 riders at a furious pace covering the first 100km in two hours.
Tomorrow's stage is brutal, with 3 climbs over 2,000 meters, th Col de Vars, Col d'Izoard and the mighty Col du Galibier. This is the first time the Tour has visited all three mountain passes since 2011.
The finish line comes after a very steep and technical descent down to Valloire after 207 kms.
VIDEO: 2019 Tour de France Stage 17 Highlights
2019 Tour de France Stage 17 Top 10
1 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott 4:21:36
2 Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:37
3 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC Team 0:00:41
4 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:41
5 Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Merida 0:00:41
6 Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:00:41
7 Daniel Oss (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:44
8 Pierre Luc Perichon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:00:50
9 Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:50
10 Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:00:55
2019 Tour de France GC after Stage 17
1 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 69:39:16
2 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Ineos 0:01:35
3 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:01:47
4 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:01:50
5 Egan Bernal (Col) Team Ineos 0:02:02
6 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:02:14
7 Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar Team 0:04:54
8 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:05:00
9 Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First 0:05:33
10 Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo 0:06:30.