Italy’s Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott) successfully pulled off a breakaway with 5 km to go and rode to a victory in Stage 17 of the 2019 Tour de France during a rather quiet day as the tour reached Gap before three treacherous stages in the Alps.
Stage 17 included a 200 km hilly ride along the famous Pont du Gard into Gap. As expected, the ascent up Col de la Sentinelle became the difference in this stage.
“It was a really emotional finish,” said Matteo Trentin. “I’ve only won two races alone before in my career. Doing it in the Tour de France with this finish in this super strong group, it’s just amazing.”
Trentin’s well-timed breakaway allowed him to smoke Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-Quick Step) by 37 seconds and Greg Cab Avermaet (CCC) by 41 seconds.
STAGE 17 RESULTS:
Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott) 4:21:36
Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-Quick Step) +0:37
Greg Cab Avermaet (CCC) +0:41
According to VeloNews, the GC leaders had a truce as of yesterday, which meant they would keep it mellow for Stage 16 and Stage 17 before the final three mountain stages in the Alps.
Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) retained the yellow jersey for a 13th consecutive day. He still holds a 1:35 lead over Geraint Thomas (Ineos) in second place.
Stage 17: Pont du Gard to Gap
The stage began on the Pont du Gard, known for its Roman-influenced architecture. The Tour de France guide described the 200 km course as hilly, but it was a minor speedbump compared to what’s looming in the Alps.
With 30 km to go, about a dozen riders broke away including Trentin. They had built up a 17-minute lead over the peloton that included Alaphilippe and all the top riders in the standings.
The toughest climb in Stage 17 occurred on a category 3 climb up Col de la Sentinelle. That’s where Trentin made his move.
“When I had a 10-second gap then they start to watch each other, and with the legs I have I can finish it off,” said Trentin. “And for me that is probably the most important thing, to do my own pace and don’t follow anyone. And what I gained I didn’t lose.”
Asgreen and Avermaet were unable to hunt down Trentin on the descent into Gap.
Kasper Asgreen, Julian Alaphilippe’s teammate at Deceuninck-Quick Step, finished in second place and 37 second behind the Italian. Greg Cab Avermaet took third place and finished four seconds behind Asgreen.
On Deck 18: Embrun > Valloire
The tour reached the Alps for the next three stages. Stage 18 features a 208 km course from Embrun to Valloire. They will head above 2000 meters on three different climbs up Col de Vars, Col d’Izoard, and Col du Galibier.
Vars is a 9.3 km climb, before facing a category H climb up Izoard. The real ballbuster will be a category H 23 km ascent to the top of Col du Galibier before a rapid descent into Valloire.
Simon Yates is the favorite to win a third stage this year. According to William Hill, he’s listed as 5/1 odds to win Stage 18. Thibaut Pinot is 8/1 odds, while Ineos teammates Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal are both 11/1 odds to win the first stage in the Alps.
OVERALL STANDINGS (Thru Stage 17):
Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) 69:39:16
Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos) +1:35
Steve Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) +1:47
Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) +1:50
Egan Bernal (Team Ineos) +2:02
None of riders on the GC leaderboard experienced a change in standings. With three mountain stages on deck before the finale in Paris on Sunday, Julian Alaphilippe still leads by 95 seconds over defending champ Geraint Thomas.
According to William Hill, Pinot is the favorite to win at 6/4 odds with four stages remaining. Fellow Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe held the yellow jersey for almost two weeks, but he’s only 4/1 odds to fend off the pack.
Team Ineos has two ponies that can win this race. Geraint Thomas is 3/1 odds to repeat, while Bernal is 4/1 odds to pull off a victory.