Thursday 23 Jul 2015
The first day in the Alps took a heavy toll on the peloton, with six riders in total receiving the dreaded 'DNF' (did not finish) against their name.
The most high-profile retirement was BMC's Tejay van Garderen, but another notable retiree was Cannondale-Garmin's Australian Nathan Haas.
Haas dropped out early in the stage. He was clearly disappointed on Twitter, especially after coming back from a stomach bug in the first week and animating the race on Stage 13.
Chapeau, Nathan. See you next year.
So just who is this bearded hipster who's just taken a mountain stage of the Tour de France?
Simon Geschke, 29, is the son of a former track cyclist and bike shop owner. He has been a pro cyclist since 2009, when he joined what was then Skil-Shimano (the team that eventually became Giant-Alpecin). He describes himself as an 'all-rounder', and has been a key engine in Marcel Kittel's sprint train in the last few years.
Kittel's absence this year gave Geschke the opportunity to go stage hunting. Geschke said that his only hope for victory on Stage 17 was to go on a long-range attack.
"Today, had I stayed with Richie Porte, Thibaut Pinot or Andrew Talansky, they would have dropped me in the long climb (col d'Allos) so my only way to win was to go away before the climb. The downhill was really challenging but it's part of cycling. I was at the limit at the top of the climb."
Great work, Simon - enjoy your moment of glory, once you've got through the emotional tears.
Ever fancied taking on the role of a pro team soigneur? Get an insight into what it entails in this video. Featuring the long-awaited introduction of Feedbagcam!
World champion Michal Kwiatkowski will not be riding for Etixx-Quickstep in 2017, according to team boss Patrick LeFevre.
LeFevre told Sporza that Kwiatko is leaving to pursue Grand Tour general classification ambitions.
“Two years ago Kwiatkowski completely cracked in order to be 11th in the Tour. That’s why I advised him not to go for GC. He was pretty mad at me,” said LeFevre. "That’s one of the reasons that Kwiatkowski will leave us."
Kwiatkowski is widely believed to be joining Team Sky next season. However, he will not be reaching Paris this year as he was one of the retirees on Stage 17, citing 'severe difficulty' on the road to Pra Loup.
Meanwhile, Etixx-Quickstep teammate Tony Martin is already back on the bike just ten days after crashing hard in the yellow jersey and breaking his collarbone.
The Team Sky/Chris Froome doping controversy continues to roll on even after the team released selected power data to try and quiet speculation.
Sports scientist Ross Tucker told Cyclingtips that he didn't think Team Sky's calculations were accurate. He compared Froome's reported figures with those of riders such as Robert Gesink (LottoNL-Jumbo, fourth on the stage, 1m33 back), Adam Yates (Orica-GREENEDGE, seventh, 2m4 down ) and Laurens Ten Dam (LottoNL-Jumbo, 22nd, 4m25 seconds behind), who have all published their power figures for Stage 10 online.
“You have Froome at 5.78 watts per kilo, gaining two minutes on a guy [Yates] who is at 5.84. One and a half minutes at a guy who is at 5.9 [Gesink] and four and a half minutes on a guy who is 5.5 [Ten Dam]," Tucker said.
“So whether the gaps are to people who have got a higher power output or lower, you cannot make those numbers fit."
Meanwhile, Froome has reached the point where he believes doubters will never be happy.
"I’d imagine the data will never be enough. There are a lot of people out there who have made up their minds and, whatever information we release, that’s not going to change their opinions," he said after Stage 17.