Preview: What you need to know about stage 17 of the 2021 Tour de France

A big day for the climbers.

by Matt de Neef

Date: Wednesday July 14
Start: Muret
Finish: Col du Portet
Distance: 178 km

A day of two contrasting halves in the Pyrenees. The first 120 km is mostly flat, and then it’s into three solid climbs, one after another.

First up is the Col de Peyresourde (13.2 km at 7% – Cat 1), then it’s the Col de Val Louron-Azet (7.4 km at 8.3% – Cat 1), and finally the Col du Portet (16 km at 8.7% – HC), the first hors categorie summit finish of the 2021 Tour. This will be a testing day.

What to watch for: With only a couple GC days left, who’s running out of time to make their mark?

Who’s it for: Climbers, obviously, although whether the stage win goes to the break or the GC hopefuls is anyone’s guess considering how much breathing room the breakaway specialists are getting at this Tour.

Dane Cash’s picks: Most other years, I’d lean in favor of picking from the GC favorites to win this stage, but the peloton has not shown much interest in chasing down the escapees at the 2021 Tour, so this feels like a bit of a coin toss. Tadej Pogačar is the obvious pick from the GC riders, with Jonas Vingegaard and Richard Carapaz as my next two favorites. Should a break battle for the stage, I like the top three riders in the mountains classification right now: Wout Poels, Mike Woods, and Nairo Quintana. Miguel Ángel López and David Gaudu are other riders to watch.

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