What you should know about the Tour’s 17th stage, which takes riders from Berne to Finhaut-Emosson. – By Whit Yost
The entire Stage 17 route is ridden in Switzerland, and brings a new angle to the Alps for Le Tour. The stage offers an ideal opportunity for riders to try and put Chris Froome and Team Sky under pressure. With only 7.5km between the top of the Forclaz and the bottom of the final ascent to Finhaut-Emosson, teams might try and attack Froome near the top of the penultimate climb in the hopes that they can distance him on the descent. Froome’s team has dominated the race so far, but has also shown signs of fatigue. If they fail to find their legs coming out of the 2016 Tour de France’s second Rest Day—and teams like Astana and Movistar continue to pile on the pressure—it could be bad news for the yellow jersey.
On the other hand, should Froome and his team maintain control of the race—perhaps setting up Froome to win the stage or put more time into his challengers—it’s “game over” for the rest of the GC contenders, especially with an individual time-trial sheduled for tomorrow.
When to Tune In
According to the Tour’s fastest estimate, the riders will start the penultimate climb of the Col de la Forclaz at about 4:00pm (SA time): that’s when you need to start watching. If Froome’s rivals come out of the Rest Day ready to challenge his lead, the final hour of Stage 17 could be the most exciting of this year’s Tour.