German cyclist Simon Geschke emerged victorious in the 17th stage of Tour de France. His ride to the podium was his first career Tour win. Chris Froome tightened his hold on the overall standings as he retained the yellow jersey finishing alongside closest title rival Nairo Quintana.
Ahead of the day’s action, BMC’s American cyclist Tejay van Garderen was forced to withdraw from the race owing to illness. Tejay was third overall at the time.
In the 161 km stage, which runs from Digne-les-Bains to Pra-Loup in the Alps, Geschke finished with a time of 4 hours 12 minutes and 17 seconds, a healthy 32 seconds ahead of second placed Andrew Talansky. Etixx-Quick Step’s Rigoberto Uran rounded up the top 3, finishing a little over a minute behind the stage winner.
Alberto Contador crashed on the final clumb of the day – category 1 Col d’Allos, to lose more than 2 minutes which resulted in him dropping down to fifth overall behind Geraint Thomas of Team Sky.
168 riders started the stage and with a little less than 50 kilometres to go, a breakaway group of 28 riders were heading the stage. Geschke broke away from them and led for the remainder of the race to seal his maiden victory.
The race now moves to stage 18 from Gap to Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, which is a 186.5 kilometre trek.
Chris Froome leads the race with a time of 69 hours 6 minutes and 49 seconds, while Nairo trails the Team Sky cyclist by 3 minutes and 10 seconds. Valverde Belmonte is another minute further the race leader while Thomas and Contador round up the top 5.Published 23 Jul 2015, 14:04 IST