Tour de France 2013: Stage 17 as it happened

Britain's Chris Froome wins the 32km individual time trial to extend his overall race lead to four minutes 34 seconds.

18 July 2013 Last updated at 12:34

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As it happened

  1. 1649: 

    It is a bit of a win-win result today.

    While Chris Froome takes the stage, Alberto Contador will have feared the Briton opening up a greater advantage on today's time trial.

    Four and a half minutes is a heck of a gap to make up. But then tomorrow's race is a heck of a stage with two mouth-watering ascents of the fearsome Alpe d'Huez.

    You can join Chris Bevan for coverage of that feast right here, with BBC Radio 5 live sports extra providing live commentary.

    Bye for now.

  2.   
    Matt Slater, BBC sports news reporter in Chorges

    "Froome is winning this race in style, 3rd stage victory & a 2nd place, yellow & KoM jerseys."

  3.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Eric Cunha: What a ride by Froome. Can't see him losing four-and-a-half minutes in the alps. Surely another Brit winner of the tour.

    James Gallagher: Chris Froome's TDF win this year will be remembered as one of the finest - he excels in the time trials and on the mountain stages

  4. 1639:  
    Yellow Jersey

    So how does that affect the general classification?

    1. Chris Froome (Britain/Team Sky) 66:07:09"

    2. Alberto Contador (Spain/Saxo - Tinkoff) +4:34"

    3. Roman Kreuziger (Czech Republic/Saxo - Tinkoff) +4:51"

    4. Bauke Mollema (Netherlands/Belkin) +6:23"

    5. Nairo Quintana (Colombia/Movistar) +6:58"

  5. 1637: 
    FULL STAGE RESULT

    1. Chris Froome (Britain/Team Sky) 51:33"

    2. Alberto Contador (Spain/Saxo - Tinkoff) +9"

    3. Joaquin Rodriguez (Spain/Katusha) +10"

    4. Roman Kreuziger (Czech Republic/Saxo - Tinkoff) +23"

    5. Alejandro Valverde (Spain/Movistar) +30"

    Selected others:

    11. Bauke Mollema (Netherlands/Belkin) +2:09"

    15. Andy Schleck (Luxembourg/RadioShack) +2:27"

    27. Tony Martin (Germany/Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) +3:06"

  6. 1634: 

    It seems that Chris Froome was able to make back whatever time he lost in rain through the flatter sections in the last few kilometres. Being aboard a time trial bike certainly helped at that point.

    The 11-second deficit at the final checkpoint was perhaps a little deceptive as well as he made the switch in machine just before.

    He may have been reeling in Alberto Contador already at that point.

  7. 1630: 

    Chris Froome: "I couldn't believe it when I saw I had the fastest time. I came into today expecting to limit my losses. I really didn't have the rain in my favour today, but the bike change could well have been the difference. I felt I needed the bigger gearing for the descent."

  8. 1630: 
    STAGE RESULT

    1. Chris Froome (Sky/GB) 51'33"

    2. Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff/Spa) +0'09"

    3. Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha/Spa) +0'10"

    4. Roman Kreuziger (Saxo-Tinkoff/Czh) +0'23"

  9. 1627: 

    Extraordinary! It looked like Chris Froome was going to be minimising the damage as the rain fell on the last part of his run, but he found some late speed from somewhere. Nine seconds was his winning margin over Alberto Contador in the end.

  10. 1625: 
    CHAMPAGNE MOMENT

    Chris Froome wins stage 17 of the Tour de France!

  11. 1624: 

    Chris Froome is down and hunched for the finish. How close can he get to Contador?

  12. 1624: 

    The French elements are conspiring against Chris Froome. While Alberto Contador was descending the final section in dry conditions, the Briton is contending with drizzle. He looks very careful over the same roads and this is going to cost him some time...

  13. 1622: 
    CONTADOR GOES QUICKEST

    Alberto Contador is top of the standings. By a sliver of a second. Now what can Chris Froome do in response?

    TOP THREE AT FINISH

    1. Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff/Spa) 51'42"

    2. Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha/Spa) +0'01"

    3. Roman Kreuziger (Saxo-Tinkoff/Czh) +0'14"

  14. 1619: 
    OUCH!

    Jean-Christophe Peraud's race comes to a wince-inducing end. The Frenchman, who has been riding with a broken collar bone, comes crashing to the ground, right on the injured joint. He says the French for 'no mas' (no more) to his AG2R handlers.

  15. 1616: 
    FROOME 11 SECONDS OFF AT 20KM

    Chris Froome swaps to his time trial bike just before the third and final check point. It was not the slickest of changeovers but the deficit to Alberto Contador is just 11 seconds. They may just be arguing over small change in general classification terms.

    TOP FOUR AT 20KM

    1. Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff/Spa) 38'24"

    2. Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha/Spa) +0'06"

    3. Roman Kreuziger (Saxo-Tinkoff/Czh) +0'09"

    4. Chris Froome (Sky/GB) +0'11"

  16. 1610: 
    NEW LEADER

    Just as I type, Spaniard Joaquin Rodriguez comes through to seize the top of the standings with a run of 51'43".

    TOP THREE AT FINISH

    1. Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha/Spa) 51'43"

    2. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +0'20"

    3. Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma QuickStep/Pol) +1'23"

  17. 1604: 
    AT THE FINISH

    Alejandro Valverde's mark still stands, but it has survived a couple of near misses with Michal Kwiatkowski and Andrew Talansky both going close.

    TOP THREE AT THE FINISH

    1. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar/Spa) 52'03"

    2. Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma QuickStep/Pol) +1'03"

    3. Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp/US) +1'11"

  18. 1601: 
    FROOME 20 SECONDS DOWN AT 13.5KM

    Yellow jersey wearer Chris Froome has lost ground on Alberto Contador over the second section and is 20 seconds short of the Spaniard's mark. Baulke Mollema is 59 seconds off.

    TOP THREE AT 13.5KM:

    1. Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff/Spa) 21'43"

    2. Roman Kreuziger (Saxo-Tinkoff/Czh) +0'08"

    3. Chris Froome (Sky/GB) +0'20"

  19. 1557: 
    CONTADOR FASTEST AT 13.5KM

    Alberto Contador comes through the second check point clear of the field. Joaquin Rodriguez has gone for an early change of the bike, but that has not been enough to keep him from his compatriot's clutches.

    TOP THREE AT 13.5KM:

    1. Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff/Spa) 21'43"

    2. Roman Kreuziger (Saxo-Tinkoff/Czh) +0'08"

    3. Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha/Spa) +0'23"

  20. 1553: 
    FROOME TWO SECONDS OFF AT 6.5KM

    Chris Froome is just two seconds off Alberto Contador's mark at the first check point. It is shaping up to be a real ding-dong battle over the remainder of the course. Baulke Mollema, second in the overall standings at the start of the day, is struggling to handle this pace. The Dutchman is one minute and seven seconds down on Contador already.

    TOP THREE AT 6.5KM:

    1. Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff/Spa) 14'40"

    2. Chris Froome (Sky/GB) +0'02"

    3. Oliver Rodriguez (Katusha/Spa) +0'17"

  21. 1548: 
    CONTADOR FASTEST AT FIRST SPLIT

    Alberto Contador slaps down the gauntlet. The Spaniard has gone up the first climb like a mountain goat and is now descending like he is on rails. He is fastest through the first check.

    TOP THREE AT 6.5KM:

    1. Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff/Spa) 14'40"

    2. Oliver Rodriguez (Katusha/Spa) +0'17"

    3. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar/Spa) +0'20"

  22. 1546: 
    NEW LEADER

    Alejandro Valverde absolutely shreds the mark set by Tejay van Garderen to take the lead in the standings. The Spaniard stormed home more than a minute ahead of the American. Maxime Monfort is up into third for Radioshack.

    TOP THREE AT THE FINISH

    1. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar/Spa) 52'03"

    2. Tejay van Garderen (BMC/US) +1'21"

    3. Maxime Monfort (Radioshack/Spa) +1'47"

  23. 1542: 

    These quick splits coming in suggest that the conditions are good enough for Chris Froome, Alberto Contador and the rest of the late runners to target a stage victory as well as taking a bite out of each other in the general classification.

  24. 1540: 
    TIME CHECK 3, REALLON at 20km

    It looks like we will shortly have a new leader on our hands, though. Alejandro Valverde has come through the third check point almost a minute ahead of Tejay van Garderen.

    TOP THREE AT 20km

    1. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar/Spa) 38'48"

    2. Tejay van Garderen (BMC/US) +0'59"

    3. Jon Izaguirre (Euskatel/Spa) +1'07"

  25. 1537: 
    AT THE FINISH

    Radioshack's Andy Schleck found some time over the final section. Coming through the final time check in eighth position, he improved to finish 36 seconds off Tejay van Gerderen. That is good enough for third as it stands.

    TOP THREE AT THE FINISH

    1. Tejay van Garderen (BMC/US) 53'24"

    2. Jon Izaguirre (Euskatel/Spa) +0'34"

    3. Andy Schleck (Radioshack/Lux) +0'36"

  26. 1534: 
    FROOME ON COURSE

    Chris Froome, with the number one race number pinned on his back and a time trial helmet on his head, is off and running.

  27. 1532: 

    Up next is Team Sky's yellow jersey Chris Froome. More than four minutes in the bag for the Briton at the start of play. He will hope it is more by the end...

  28. 1532: 
    MOLLEMA ON COURSE

    Dutchman Bauke Mollema is out and off the ramp, sporting a time trial helmet that looks like it has been modelled on Darth Vader's headwear. Slightly less intimidating in Belkin lime green.

  29. 1529: 
    CONTADOR ON COURSE

    Alberto Contador, four minutes and 25 seconds down on Chris Froome at the start of the day, is out on the course. The Spaniard is on a standard road bike with aero bars attached.

  30. 1528: 

    Jean-Christophe Peraud, riding with a broken collar bone, is struggling to wrestle his bike around the corners. The Frenchman will do well to survive the stage. If he does, though, he will be assured a grand welcome by the crowd at the finish line.

  31. 1526: 
    AT THE START

    Nairo Quintana, the Colombian who is the current holder of the white jersey for the race's best young rider, has just got his time trial under way.

  32. 1524: 
    TIME CHECK 2, PICOUNE at 13.5km

    Alejandro Valverde, 15th in the general classification at the start of the day, has just gone fastest through the second time check. The Movistar rider is more than 14 minutes off Chris Froome but could make a move up the field with fellow Spaniard Daniel Navarro less than a minute in front in the overall standings. Valverde is 38 seconds better off than stage leader Tejay van Gerderen at the same point.

    TOP THREE AT 13.5KM

    1. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar/Spa) 22'15"

    2. Thomas de Gendt (Vacansoleil/Bel) +0'15"

    2. Jon Izaguirre (Euskatel/Spa) +0'35"

    3. Tejay van Garderen (BMC/US) +0'23"

  33. 1518: 
    Philippe Gilbert

    The rain seems to be holding off at the moment. It was really chucking it down earlier in the day though as Philippe Gilbert found out to his cost.

  34.   
    Matt Slater, BBC sports news reporter in Chorges

    "Interesting views from early starters about changing bikes on course. Jens Voigt didn't & thought it would cost too much time. Van Garderen changed & more than made up time with descent. None of Garmin-Sharp guys will change, mixed messages on Froome plan. The weather is big variable. Thunder but dry at finish. Last descent has at least one treacherous bend, could get slick."

  35. 1512: 

    Jean-Christophe Peraud, the highest-placed Frenchman in the general classification, fractured his clavicle on a reconnaissance ride this morning. After a quick trip to hospital, he has been deemed fit to continue by his AG2R team.

    With a grimace and a groan he is off on his run. Even if he soldiers through today, will he be able to get through tomorrow's double trip up Alpe d'Huez?

  36. 1508: 

    Chris Froome, yellow bodysuit pulled on, earphones plugged in, is on the rollers and spinning his legs through a whizzy cadence to get warmed up for his run. He is off and running at 1533 BST.

  37. 1507: 

    The gaps between the riders setting off from the starting house have been opened up from two to three minutes as we get down to the top 15 in the general classification.

    Irishman Daniel Martin is the latest out of the hutch for Garmin-Sharp.

  38. 1503: 
    AT THE FINISH

    FDJ rider Arnold Jeannesson was the second fastest rider through the first time check before rain ruined his run. The Frenchman has come home seventh overall, one minute and two seconds off Tejay van Gerderen. He is the top-placed Frenchman in the standings but will be wondering what might have been.

    There was an amusing moment in his run when he passed the rider who had set out before him, Eduard Vorganov, and angrily waved the Russian Katusha rider off his back wheel as he attempted to draft a free ride.

    TOP THREE AT THE FINISH

    1. Tejay van Garderen (BMC/US) 53'24"

    2. Jon Izaguirre (Euskatel/Spa) +0'34"

    3. Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil/Ned) +0'38"

  39. 1455: 

    Cadel Evans, the 2011 Tour winner, has got his run going. The Australian is 16 minutes and 40 seconds off leader Chris Froome in the general classification at the start of the day.

  40. 1450: 

    BMC's standings leader Tejay van Garderen: "When the morale gets down it is hard to push yourself at 100% but I told myself not to let up. I think it was a good idea to swap bikes when I did. The downhill was all about the aerodynamic position, so it was a wise choice.

    "If it is raining on that first descent, then it will get sketchy and that could be to my advantage."

  41.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Jules in London via text: I think he's already indicated he's done with grand tours so this isn't really a surprise. Last year's Tour de France course was perfect for him and he capitalised on it but Sky are right to stick with Froome. Personally I would love to see Wiggo have a properly supported crack at some of the spring one day classics before he retires.

    Steve in Oxford: Froome and Wiggins can target different races, much like this season. No need for both in the same event. Wiggo wants to do more Classics.

    Nick in Bournemouth: Wiggo doesn't seem to be the best team player and is an expensive TT specialist. Froome is no TT slouch and a better tour rider so Team Sky could cope without Wiggo.

  42.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Mick Sheppard: I can see Wiggins wanting to come back next year with the start in England but whether he'll want to support Froome I don't know

  43. 1443: 
    Tejay van Garderen

    The steady rain may be softening the ground, but it is only firming up the chances of a first Tour de France stage win for Tejay van Garderen. Van Garderen's BMC team-mate Philippe Gilbert is back home, two minutes and 39 seconds and 24 places behind his colleague.

  44. 1436: 

    Team Sky's Richie Porte has rolled off the start ramp. The Australian has already said that he will be saving his legs for supporting Chris Froome on the two-time ascent of Alpe d'Huez tomorrow.

    It is dry in the early parts of the course, but it soon gets very soggy out there.

  45. 1432: 

    Presuming that the "i's" are dotted and the "t's" are crossed on that new contract for Chris Froome, the question it obviously leads to is... what now for Sir Bradley Wiggins?

    This team surely ain't big enough for the both of them...

  46. 1430: 
    NEW SKY CONTRACT FOR FROOME

    Big news from the Team Sky camp.

    BBC Sport's Chris Bevan reports: "Tour de France leader Chris Froome has agreed a new contract with Team Sky until the end of the 2016 season.

    "'There is an agreement and they are just working on finalising some of the details at the moment,' Froome's fiancee and manager Michelle Cound told BBC Sport.

    "'It should be announced in the next week or two that he will be extending until 2016.'

    "The 28-year-old Kenya-born Briton has been with Team Sky since its inception for the 2010 season.

    "His current deal runs out in 2014 and the new agreement would replace the terms of the final year of that contract and extend for two further seasons."

  47. 1425: 
    IT'S RAINING

    The rain is hosing down on Frenchman Arnold Jennesson somewhere out on the third sector. The FDJ rider is inching down an descent with a sheer drop on one side, an uncompromising mountain face on the other and slick tarmac beneath his tyres. Not a pretty place to be...

  48. 1421: 
    NEW LEADER

    Tejay van Garderen takes 34 seconds out of Jon Izaguirre's time to claim top spot in the standings. And, given the changing weather conditions, that might be the mark to beat for some time...

    TOP THREE AT FINISH

    1. Tejay van Garderen (BMC/US) 53'24"

    2. Jon Izaguirre (Euskatel/Spa) +0'34"

    3. Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil/Ned) +0'38"

  49. 1418: 
    TIME CHECK 3, REALLON at 20km

    It looks like swapping bicycles is the shrewd tactic. American BMC rider Tejay Van Garderen is the fastest man so far through the third and final time check.

    TOP THREE AT 20km

    1. Tejay van Garderen (BMC/US) 39'47"

    2. Jon Izaguirre (Euskatel/Spa) +0'08"

    3. Thomas de Gendt (Vacansoleil/Bel) +0'09"

  50. 1410: 

    A few spits and spats of rain have been reported out on the course, particularly on the last descent, but apparently they have evaporated as quickly as they have fallen in the heat.

  51. 1408: 
    TIME CHECK 2, PICOUNE at 13.5km

    American Tejay van Garderen has come through the second time check third fastest, three seconds off clubhouse leader Jon Izaguirre at the same stage.

    The BMC rider, fifth in the general classification last year and the winner of the best young rider, has swapped onto a time trial machine for the last couple of sections.

    TOP THREE AT 13.5KM

    1. Thomas de Gendt (Vacansoleil/Bel) 22'30"

    2. Jon Izaguirre (Euskatel/Spa) +0'20"

    3. Tejay van Garderen (BMC/US) +0'23"

  52. 1400: 

    The scent of a storm is still in the air. The latest weather forecast predicts that there will be rain in roughly 45 minutes time. That could turn the final descents into a skid pan and make it very difficult for Chris Froome and the rest of the late riders to close out a stage win.

    The nightmare scenario for Froome would be dramatically different conditions for his run and Alberto Contador's six minutes before him. Froome gets going at 1533 BST.

  53. 1355: 
    AT THE FINISH

    Canadian Ryder Hesjedal has come home seventh for Garmin-Sharp, 42 seconds behind leader Jon Izaguirre and a second off sixth-placed Tony Martin.

    "Alberto Contador is a fighter; he does not like anything but first and so he will risk it all," says Hesjedal, when asked about the final riders' approach to the course.

    Europcar's Thomas Voeckler has struggled in, three minutes 54 seconds off the pace. The Frenchman is 56th in today's standings at the moment.

    TOP THREE AT THE FINISH

    1. Jon Izaguirre (Euskaltel/Spa) 53'58"

    2. Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil/Ned) +0'04"

    3. Rein Taaramae (Cofidis/Est) +0'15"

  54.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Stephen Desmond: Skipping the TT today to get up the Alps proper for tomorrow but we drove the stage last night - it's made for Froome & made for TV.

    Matt Taggart: Richie Porte's "soft pedal" plan to be team orders? Just don't miss the cut-off, Sky will need every rider for double Alpe D'Huez

  55. 1347: 

    If a rider is to swap bicycles during a time trial stage, their new means of transport has to come off the roof rack of the following team car rather than be parked up at the side of the road waiting for them.

  56. 1344: 

    World road race champion Philippe Gilbert has just got his time trial under way. No rainbow stripes for him today as he wears the black and red of his BMC team. Gilbert is more than an hour off leader Chris Froome in the general classification.

  57. 1340: 

    It is muggy and humid out on the course. The threatening thunderclouds up above are holding fire for the time being, though.

  58. 1339: 

    Jon Izaguirre has just been interviewed in the wake of his ride. He says it was a "hard course right from the first climb" and is unsure whether his mark will be good enough to beat Chris Froome and Alberto Contador.

    The interesting bit, though, is where he confirms that he changed his road bike for a time trial one for the final section. That may become the trend this afternoon.

  59. 1335: 
    NEW LEADER

    Finally Lieuwe Westra's field-leading mark is toppled. Euskaltel's Jon Izaguirre came through 20km with a 31-second advantage over Westra and ekes it out to come home with four seconds to spare.

    The 24-year-old claimed a time trial win on the UCI Europe Tour on the Vuelta a Asturias in 2012.

    TOP THREE AT THE FINISH

    1. Jon Izaguirre (Euskaltel/Spa) 53'58"

    2. Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil/Ned) +0'04"

    3. Rein Taaramae (Cofidis/Est) +0'15"

  60. 1326: 
    AT THE FINISH

    Estonian rider Rein Taaramae takes second place as it stands, 11 seconds off Lieuwe Westra. Taaramae was another rider who had time in hand on Westra at 20km, 17 seconds in his case, but could not convert it into a lead at the end of his run.

    TOP THREE AT FINISH

    1. Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil/Ned) 54'02"

    2. Rein Taaramae (Cofidis/Est) +0'11"

    3. Thomas de Gendt (Vacansoleil/Bel) +0'12"

  61.  
    GET INVOLVED

    David Hooper, London, via text: I am not sure Froome should go for win. He should gain time on climb but be sensible on technical sections. If he loses a few seconds, so what. But if he crashes he may lose yellow.

    Tom in Salisbury: Re bike changes: Jean-Francois Bernard did the opposite swap in 1987. The TT was on Mont Ventoux, but preceded by about 16km of flat road. He swapped from a full on TT bike to a road bike at the foot of the climb, and won the stage by a big margin. So if Froome does it today, it is only continuation of a long tradition.

  62. 1313: 

    Perhaps one of the reasons for Lieuwe Westra's nippy final 12km was the fact that he was one of the only riders on a time trial bike today.

    "I think I'm one of the only guys to do this, but there was plenty of time when I was in the aero position. I'm glad I did," he said.

    Those rumours of a mid-stage bike swap by Chris Froome might be sensible.

  63. 1310: 
    AT THE FINISH

    Lieuwe Westra's final downhill 12km looks better and better as more and more riders fail to match it. Thomas de Gendt had a 30-second advantage to play with 20km into the stage, but even that was not enough to unseat the Dutchman at the top of the standings. De Gendt finishes 12 seconds outside Westra's mark at the finish.

    TOP THREE AT THE FINISH

    1. Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil/Ned) 54'02"

    2. Thomas de Gendt (Vacansoleil/Bel) +0'12"

    3. Alessandro de Marchi (Cannondale/Ita) +0'13"

  64. 1305: 

    Mark Cavendish tweeted last night that he "had the embarrassment of having to stop in a field today in front of the whole peloton with a VERY poorly stomach. #mindyourstep".

    After having urine thrown at him earlier in the Tour, maybe that was some kind of revenge on the French nation.

    "I felt surprisingly okay considering yesterday I had an upset stomach," Cavendish said after his run in today's time trial.

    "We will see and take every day as it comes, but I'm looking forward to Sunday."

    Cavendish's time of 59'08" has him in 69th of the 84 riders home so far.

    Mark Cavendish
  65. 1300: 
    AT THE FINISH

    Garmin Sharp's British rider David Millar has finished his run. He is 11th fastest of the 81 riders home, registering a time of 56'18", two minutes and 16 seconds off leader Lieuwe Westra.

  66. 1258: 
    TIME CHECK 3, REALLON at 20km

    Belgian rider Thomas de Gendt is on target to take the lead. The Vacansoleil man is 30 seconds up on Lieuwe Westra, the fastest through the finish line today, at the third and final checkpoint. Just 12km left to hold that advantage...

    TOP THREE AT 20km

    1. Thomas de Gendt (Vacansoleil/Bel) 39'56"

    2. Alessandro de Marchi (Cannondale/Ita) +0'17"

    2. Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil/Ned) +0'30"

  67. 1253: 

    Chris Froome has been using social media to address Alberto Contador for some rogue riding at the back-end of yesterday's stage.

    Contador came a cropper as he pushed beyond his limits on the descent into Gap, forcing Froome to run wide in his wake. Both riders were unhurt and made up the time on their rivals, but Froome was unimpressed by Contador's risky attack.

    "Almost went over your head @albertocontador.. Little more care next time?," he tweeted last night.

  68.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Neil McRobie: What do people think about the rumour that Froome will change road to TT bike at the top of climb 2?

    It is not unprecedented. Sir Bradley Wiggins was forced to swap his time trial bike because of a puncture at this year's Giro.

    Karl Monger: Seeing there's 2 Cat 2 climbs in the stage are there any KOTM points for grabs? It's turning into a interesting contest for KOTM 2013

    Both the Cote de Puy-Sanieres (6.5km) and the Cote de Reallon (30km) are category two ascents and carrying five, three, two and one points for the fastest four up them today.

    Iain Scarlett: Tir-progressif Darts sounds like it has a future

    Definitely.

  69.  
    GET INVOLVED

    John in Altrincham via text: Just like Sunday I reckon the result for today is another no brainer! Froome to gain another big chunk of time. You can imagine Dave Brailsford's advice being "Keep the rubber side down and shiny side up, now go and rip the road up Chris"... can't wait to see it

  70. 1242: 

    Chris Froome looks like a man at ease with the world in that picture with team-mate Richie Porte.

    His fiancee Michelle Cound, a Welsh-born and South Africa-raised cycling photographer, has revealed the man in the yellow jersey got some unexpected support from a sibling earlier this week.

    Cound told BBC Sport: "We were going to go and sit down for dinner - well, he eats with the team but he was coming with me to a restaurant while I ate my dinner - and his brother showed up from Kenya, completely out of the blue.

    "It was a huge shock for both of us and it absolutely made Chris's day.

    "His brother has been travelling for the past two days to get to France and he and a few of his friends from Kenya are going to be sticking around until the weekend, showing their support for him along the roads."

    Froome has posted a picture of him standing alongside his brother on his Instagram feed. To say there is a family resemblance is an understatement.

  71. 1241: 
    Chris Froome and Richie Porte

    Le Tour de France on Twitter: Warm-up for Chris Froome

  72. 1241: 
    AT THE FINISH

    Tony Martin has negotiated that final descent better than most. The German time trial world champion was eight at the 20km mark, but comes through the finish line third fastest for the day.

    TOP THREE AT FINISH

    1. Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil/Ned) 54'02"

    2. Alessandro de Marchi (Cannondale/Ita) +0'13"

    3. Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quickstep/Ger) +0'37"

  73.   
    Matt Slater, BBC sports news reporter in Chorges

    "De Marchi was 13" up on Westra at 2nd check, lost 26" on descent. It's a real test of engine, bike-handling & nerve."

  74. 1234: 
    AT THE FINISH

    Alessandro de Marchi can't hold that advantage through to the finish. He comes home 13 seconds off Lieuwe Westra, who must have dug deep over the final 12km stretch. De Marchi's time is good enough to put him second among the 67 riders to have completed the course so far.

    TOP THREE AT FINISH

    1. Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil/Ned) 54'02"

    2. Alessandro de Marchi (Cannondale/Ita) +0'13"

    3. Moreno Moser (Cannondale/Ita) +0'51"

  75. 1225: 
    TIME CHECK 3, REALLON at 20km

    We have a new fastest man at the third and final time check. Cannondale's Alessandro de Marchi comes through 13 seconds better than clubhouse leader Lieuwe Westra. Tony Martin is only the eighth fastest man through the same point and rapidly slipping out of contention. Just 12km to go to the finish line.

    TOP THREE AT 20KM

    1. Alessandro de Marchi (Cannondale/Ita) 40'13"

    2. Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil/Ned) +0'13"

    3. Moreno Moser (Cannondale/Ita) +0'16"

  76. 1222: 
    OUCH!

    Good and bad news for AG2R rider Jean-Christophe Peraud. Ninth placed in the general classification at the start of the day, he suffered a crash in training this morning.

    He has escaped with a minor fracture of his right clavicle, but he will be shoved aboard his bike and sent down the ramp at 1509 BST as advertised.

  77. 1217: 
    TIME CHECK 2, PICOUNE at 13.5km

    Tony Martin has enjoyed a stronger second segment of the time trial, making up some time on the descent to the second time check, 13.5km in at Picoune.

    The German is sixth fastest through the checkpoint, but just 10 seconds behind the leader at that point who is Cannondale's Alessandro de Marchi.

    TOP THREE AT 13.5KM

    1. Alessandro de Marchi (Cannondale/Ita) 23'05"

    2. Sergio Paulinho (Saxo-Tinkoff/Por) +0'06"

    3. Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil/Ned) +0'09"

  78. 1211: 

    The ups and downs on today's stage leave the peloton with some interesting wardrobe choices.

    The early starters have so far opted not to don the full spaceman time trial kit, instead sticking with their regular road bikes for today's stage. A few have clipped on some aero bars to get tucked in tight on the rare straights, though.

    Garmin-Sharp's British rider David Millar, out on the course right now, has left the bars back in the shed but donned the time trial helmet.

    A real mix-and-match day.

  79. 1207: 

    There are a few thunderclouds brewing in the area today. If they open the trapdoors it could throw the whole stage up in the air, especially considering the descents the riders are tackling.

    So far it has stayed dry and the forecast is for Chris Froome to be back in the Team Sky bus by the time the electricity starts crackling round the skies. One to keep an eye on...

  80. 1206: 
    OUCH!

    There has been an early casualty today and it wasn't even racing in anger. AG2R rider Jean-Christophe Peraud has been taken to hospital after a crash while out training on the course. We'll bring you more news as and when we get it on that.

    He may yet be back in time to take his place in today's field - he is due to start at 1509 BST.

  81. 1206: 
    TIME CHECK 1, PUY-SANIERES at 6.5km

    The first checkpoint, 6.5km into the course on the top of Cote de Puy-Sanieres, has revealed that the hills are going to make it very tough for Tony Martin to repeat his time trial win from stage 11.

    The German comes through the first checkpoint as only the fifth fastest rider of the day so far, 22 seconds off Lieuwe Westra's mark.

    TOP THREE AT 6.5KM

    1. Lieuwe Westra 15'41"

    2. Alessandro de Marchi +10 seconds

    3. Moreno Moser +22 seconds

  82. 1200: 

    The official Tour de France website has been running a poll on what the outcome will be from today's stage. They have asked their readers whether any of Chris Froome's rivals will be able to reduce his overall lead to under four minutes.

    At the last time of looking, 17% of the 4,000-odd voters had said that Alberto Contador might manage to do so. A tentative 9% said that Bauke Mollema could. But a whopping 59% have backed Froome to extend his lead.

    Those are the sort of figures usually returned in shady elections.

  83.  
    GET INVOLVED

    So is this the day when Chris Froome turns a competition into a coronation? Or can one of his general classification rivals spring a surprise from somewhere?

    Aim your thoughts at #bbctdf on Twitter or get the mobile phone humming old-school style with a text message to 81111.

  84. 1158: 

    Of course, 76 riders have already descended the start ramp. Among the most recent is time trial world champion Tony Martin.

    The German is in the early part of his run and yet to pass a checkpoint.

    So far the fastest man through the finish line is Dutchman Lieuwe Westra in a time of 54 minutes two seconds.

    Team Sky's Geraint Thomas is 13th fastest so far, three minutes and five seconds back. Mark Cavendish (+5'06") and Ian Stannard (+6'19") are the other Britons to have finished the course.

  85. 1151: 
    START TIMES

    Here are a few more names to watch for:

    Great Britain's David Millar starts at 1151 BST

    Peter Kennaugh (Sky/GB) is at 1235

    Philippe Gilbert (BMC/Bel) at 1339

    Nicolas Roche (TST/Ire) at 1407

    Andy Schleck (RLT/Lux) at 1439

    Cadel Evans (BMC/Aus) at 1445

    Daniel Martin (GRS/Ire) at 1506

  86. 1145:  
    Yellow JerseySTART LIST

    The riders go off today in reverse order based on their standings in the overall classification. Chris Froome will therefore be last to go, descending the start ramp at 1533 BST knowing what the rest of the field have done before him.

    These are the final riders to go, together with how far off Froome they are at the start of the day:

    Nairo Quintana (Movistar/Col) at 1521 BST (+5'47")

    Roman Krueziger (Saxo-Tinkoff/Czh) at 1524 (+4'28")

    Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff/Spa) at 1527 (+4'25")

    Bauke Mollema (Belkin/Ned) at 1530 (+4'14")

    Chris Froome (Sky/GB) at 1533

  87. 1145: 
    LOCAL AREA
    Chorges

    The riders will whip around one of the biggest man-made reservoirs in Europe - Lake Serre Poncon - inbetween ascents of the Col de Puy-Sanieres and Col de Reallon.

    Today's local celebrity is Guillaume Abelfo. What do you mean you haven't heard of him?

    The Chorges resident is world champion in one of the most extraordinary sports going. If you mix petanque with the bleep test, you have tir-progressif boules.

    When the International Olympic Committee gets a look at this, it is going straight into the Olympic programme.

  88. 1144: 
    STAGE PROFILE
    Stage 17 profile

    Le Tour de France on Twitter: Stage 17 - Embrun / Chorges - 32 km Hilly time trial for the riders, with 2 climbs of category 2.

  89. 1142: 
    WHAT TO EXPECT

    Despite all those unpredictable variables, Team Sky's yellow jersey Chris Froome is the big favourite for today's stage.

    After running time trial world champion Tony Martin close on a more orthodox time trial course on stage 11, the Briton is expected to go one better over Stage 17's demanding route.

    Imperious when climbing and able to get the power down on the flat, this stage is a big chance to extend his four minute 14 second lead over his rivals in the general classification.

    Froome was 1:53" better than Bauke Mollema in the Tour's first time trial and 2:03" better than Alberto Contador.

    Something similar today might be the death knell in their hopes of overhauling the Briton with only three competitive stages to follow.

    Chris Froome
  90. 1135: 

    Individual time trials are usually a straight-up slug-fest of power, bike position and sheer bloody-mindedness.

    Not today's Stage 17 of the Tour de France.

    Not only does the 32km course from Embrun to Chorges twist and turn, it also bucks and dives over two category two climbs.

    Throw in the threat of thunderstorms, possible bike changes and the need to leave enough juice in the legs for tomorrow's double ascent of Alpe d'Huez and we have got an altogether more intriguing time trial.