Christophe Ena/Associated Press
The 2017 Tour de France will return on Tuesday after a second rest day. Riders will tackle Stage 16 as competitors attempt to reduce the lead held by Team Sky’s Chris Froome in the general classification standings on a relatively flat stage covering 165 kilometres.
Trek-Segafredo’s Bauke Mollema recorded his first stage win in the Tour on Sunday, per ITV Cycling. Yet with just six stages left the general classification candidates will start to make their moves, though they may wait until after the final stage in which sprinters are likely to prevail.
For a full breakdown of the remaining stage schedule, visit the race’s official website.
Its official Twitter account shows Froome still wearing the yellow jersey atop the GC:
Le Tour de France UK @letour_uk
Slight change in the G.C. @chrisfroome stays in Yellow, @DanMartin86 up to 5th following a late attack & @SimonYatess in 7th & in White 🇬🇧🇮🇪 https://t.co/VbLim71mOe
All stages can be viewed on Eurosport 1 and ITV 4 in the UK, while U.S. audiences can watch on NBC Sports.
Here are the live-streaming links: Eurosport Player. ITV Hub. NBC Sports App.
The race resumes on Tuesday with a stage sure to favour sprinters. In particular, “finishes in the Rhone Valley often end up with bunched sprints,” according to race general director Christian Prudhomme, per the Tour’s official website.
Those chasing a breakaway will also be happy with the stage profile, according to the same source: “The roads of the day are perfectly known by the amateur riders of the Ardechoise cyclosportive, with a topography that could give confidence to breakaway riders.”
The Cyclingnewstv official YouTube channel provided a more in-depth preview:
Mollema won his first stage at the Tour last time out and will feel confident about repeating the trick after the swift pace he set at Laissac. His solo escape from the breakaway caught the eye, but Mollema is still likely to be absorbed by the main contenders in the general classification on Tuesday.
Among them, Froome still holds a slender lead. He owes his lead to staying in touch during a frantic 15th stage.
Team-mate Geraint Thomas congratulated Froome and Co. for the way they rode:
Geraint Thomas @GeraintThomas86
Some ride by Froomey and the boys to get back there💪💪 Now we’ll see which GC guys are serious about trying to win…
However, Froome and his team must keep eyes on his main contenders. Aru is the closest, but a few more emerged during stage 15.
In particular, Dan Martin of Quick-Step Floors made his move, per CyclingTips editor Neal Rogers:
Neal Rogers @nealrogers
Dan Martin takes ~13sec on GC group, should move into 5th overall #TDF17
Martin has now closed the gap, despite a setback earlier in the race, per Cillian Kelly of the Velocast This Week in Cycling History podcast:
Cillian Kelly @irishpeloton
Dan Martin 1’12” down on the yellow jersey now.
He lost 1’15” when he crashed with Richie Porte last week
Riders may have gained on Froome, but the 32-year-old has consistently done what he has to in order to take top spot. Not even a mechanical on Sunday could wreck Froome’s focus, per the AP (h/t MailOnline).
Expect Froome to maintain his lead in the GC ahead of the mountains. Stage 17 and the ascent at Col du Galibier will begin the return to the Alps on Wednesday, before Stage 18 ends on the Col d’Izoard, marking the first time a Tour stage has finished on this climb, per Cycling Weekly.
Froome’s team-mate Mikel Landa, an excellent climber, can then help him stay in touch during Stages 17 and 18, as Froome gets ready for the crucial time trial in Marseille on Saturday.