Tour de France 2017 : Stage 11 – Kittel takes 5 while Bodnar thrills

Marcel Kittel wins his fifth stage of TDF2017 and his 14th of Tour career. As usual, he timed his sprint to perfection and overtook his opponents with ease. But it was Maciej Bodnar who stole the limelight by attacking from the breakaway group and almost making it to the line … almost. His surge was like a shot of espresso in a quiet (but crash prone) flat stage. All the jerseys stayed on the same shoulders.

Rider of the Race

With the Pyrenees looming large on the horizon, and the undisputed strength of Marcel Kittel‘s sprints, the teams decided it was going to be a stage to save the legs and just try their luck in the last few hundred metres. All’s I can say is thank God for Maciej Bodnar (Bora-Hansgrohe) – my Rider of the Race – who gave us a thrill on a rather dull day.

His attack came from the breakaway group, which had gone clear from the start of the stage and never gained too much of a gap. With 28 km to go and the peloton only 25 seconds behind, Bodnar surged from behind his two companions, Marco Marcato (UAE) and Frederik Backaert (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and went clear at the front. At that point it all seemed a bit desperate but the sprinters’ team were taking their time in organising their trains and Bodnar showcased his time trial skills, combining big gears with rhythmic cadence.

Then, as expected, it all seemed lost. The peloton got within touching distance, six seconds, then five. Bodnar sat up as if giving up, but after passing under the flamme rouge, he kept the speed high. Looking back to see the gap unchanged, he smelled the victory. After rounding the last corner, he accelerated and went for it at full pelt. Reminiscence of Lukas Postlberger at the Giro, Bodnar seemed on the verge of success, only to be caught with 300 metres to go by the winningest German of them all … all too painful to watch.

More broken bones

As if the race hadn’t taken enough of a toll, today was another crash-laden stage. It was the first crash of the day that woke us up, with Dario Cataldo having to quit the Tour with a broken wrist, which was also bad news for teammate Fabio Aru‘s GC hopes as the Astana domestique was an important player in the Italian’s quest for yellow. It was better news for Jakob Fuglsang, who crashed with Cataldo, but after medical attention finished the race. There were also crashes involving both Alberto Contador and Romain Bardet, but luckily they were both unhurt and finished the stage without further incident.

Results

Top 5 stage 

1 Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors) 4:34:27

2 Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) same time

3 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) s/t

4 Michael Matthews (Sunweb) s/t

5 Daniel McLay (Fortuneo-Oscaro) s/t

Top 5 GC 

1 Chris Froome (Sky) 47:01:55

2 Fabio Aru (Astana) +0:18

3 Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) +0:51

4 Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac) +0:55

5 Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) +1:37

All the jerseys

Embed from Getty Images

Leader: Chris Froome (Sky)

Points: Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors)

KOM: Warren Barguil (Sunweb-Alpecin)

Best Young Rider: Simon Yates (ORICA-Scott)

Team Classification: Sky

Most Aggressive Rider: Maciej Bodnar (Bora Hansgrohe)

For race reviews, go to CyclingNews; official LeTour website is here

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