Tour de France – Stage 17 – Four for Norway

I’ll admit the effort was there to find a pun with the words “Four” and “Norway”, but it all sounded mildly perverted, so I had to refrain. What a Tour de France for Norwegian riders – two riders and four wins! Today, after finishing second yesterday in the breakaway, Edvald Boasson Hagen won his second stage of the tour from the breakaway, tracking down Ruben Perez from Euskaltel and not looking back.

Another stage with another insane descent saw the Schlecks come out unscathed and not losing anytime to a very active Samuel Sanchez and Alberto Contador. The Spaniards worked together marvelously on the descent to make a large gap but lost all their time gains on the flats as the Schlecks, Evans, Cunego, Taaramee, Peraud and Vanendert worked to reel them in with about 200m to go. The descent was truly nerve-wracking to watch as numerous riders were off the roads and at one point Sammy Sanchez navigated a corner on only his front wheel he was riding the brakes so hard. Thomas Voeckler didn’t do as well losing 27 seconds, as he ran off the road twice in the yellow jersey (what happened to waiting for yellow, Andy?) the second time into the parking stall of someone’s house. Maybe Voeckler was checking to see if Hivert was still visiting the house as Hivert earlier went off in the same exact spot.

I was expecting bigger time gains for Evans, Bert and Sanchez, but today Evans seemed content to work with the Schlecks than against them. The mountains really hit hard tomorrow and Contador looks like he’s rounding back into form, it should be spectacular!

Stage 17 Top Five
1. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky)_______4h18’00”
2. Buake Mollema (Rabobank)_________+:40″
3. Sandy Casar (FDJ)________________+:50″
4. Jeremy El Fares (Cofidis)
5. Sylvain Chavanel (Quickstep)

Complete Stage results: Le Tour

General Classification Top Three after Stage 17
1. Thomas Voeckler (Europcar)_______73h23’49”
2. Cadel Evans (BMC)_______________+1’18”
3. Frank Schleck (Leopard)__________+1’22”
4. Andy Schleck (Leopard)____________+2’36”
5. Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel)________+2’59”
6. Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank)______+3’15”
7. Damiano Cunego (Lampre)_________+3’34”
8. Ivan Basso (Liquigas)_____________+3’49”
9. Tom Danielson (Garmin)____________+6’04”
10. Rigoberto Uran (Sky)______________+7’36”

Complete Overall results: Le Tour

Green Jersey (points) Top Three after Stage 17
1. Mark Cavendish (HTC)______(319)
2. J.J. Rojas (Movistar)_______(285)
3. Philippe Gilbert (Lotto)______(250)

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