July 22, 2015

PRA LOUP, France (AP) The Latest from the Tour de France (all times local):


9:10 p.m.

Tejay van Garderen says ''it almost feels like I just want to disappear right now'' after illness forced him to abandon the Tour de France while in third place overall, on Stage 17.

The American leader of the BMC team says ''it was hard to look my teammates in the eyes (and) it was hard to call my wife and explain to her what was going on.''

He said a cold he's been fighting for several days got worse, giving him fever and chills on the rest day Tuesday. He felt ''ready to race'' at the start of Wednesday's stage to the Pra Loup ski station only to discover on the climbs that he had no energy.

Van Garderen said ''it's hugely disappointing'' to have gone from ''fighting for a podium'' to being out of the race.

-By John Leicester in Barcelonnette, France.


8:30 p.m.

Chris Froome says it would be ''crazy'' for his Team Sky to bow to calls to publicly release all of the data and files it has collected about the Tour de France leader's riding performances at races and in training.

Froome says Sky would surrender ''everything'' if other teams did too, to bodies like the World Anti-Doping Agency or to the governing body of cycling, the UCI.

But Froome says publicly releasing ''all my power data, all my training files, all my racing files'' - which he says are needed to have a full understanding of why he rides so strongly - ''would mean giving away our training programs'' to other teams and ''that's our competitive advantage.''

He adds: ''Obviously it's crazy for us just to give it away'' to ''other teams that haven't made that kind of investment in the training'' that Sky has.

-By John Leicester in Barcelonnette, France.


7:50 p.m.

A few more bends and perhaps Andrew Talansky might have got him.

The American rider says he simply ''ran out of road'' in his hot pursuit of bearded German Simon Geschke up the final climb of Stage 17. Geschke held on Wednesday for the fifth win by a German at this Tour.

Talansky, who rides for Cannondale-Garmin, says he ''thought I had a good chance'' and ''was pretty confident I was the best climber'' in the group of riders he ascended with.

But he adds that ''Geschke just had a bit too much time coming into that final climb'' and ''I ended up being second. But I did everything I could.''

He rode in 32 seconds behind the winner for Giant-Alpecin.

-By Jamey Keaten, Pra Loup, France.


7:10 p.m.

Tejay van Garderen's team doctor says a respiratory infection forced the American to abandon on Stage 17 when the BMC leader had been in third place overall.

The doctor, Max Testa, says Van Garderen started to get a headache, didn't feel good and couldn't develop enough power to stay with the other podium contenders - who piled on the speed to get rid of him on Wednesday.

Testa says the combination of fatigue from the illness and the ''very hard'' start to the stage proved too much.

The doctor had been hoping that Van Garderen was ''over the worst part'' of an illness that the rider had been battling for several days.

He says Van Garderen is ''clearly shocked'' that he's had to pull out of the race so close to the finish in Paris on Sunday.

-By John Leicester in Barcelonnette, France.


5:10 p.m.

Simon Geschke of the Giant-Alpecin team has won a tough and dangerous Stage 17 in the Alps with a brave solo breakaway and hairy and treacherous descent to ride in alone to the Pra Loup ski station.

The bearded German held off Andrew Talansky of Cannondale-Garmin, who was in hot pursuit on the final climb.

Race leader Chris Froome showed his bike-handling skills on the last terrifying high-speed descent where 2007 and 2009 winner Alberto Contador suffered a problem with his bike, costing him time.

Geschke celebrated his win with a double fist-pump.

-By John Leicester in Barcelonnette, France.


4:40 p.m.

Race organizers say the Tour de France's tough Stage 17, an Alpine route after Tuesday's rest day, has claimed another rider.

World champion Michal Kwiatkowski of the Etixx-Quick Step team joins five others who have already pulled out before the finish at the Pra Loup ski station.

-By John Leicester in Barcelonnette, France.


4:10 p.m.

Stage 17 of the Tour de France is taking a toll, with five riders dropping out so far before the finish at the Pra Loup ski station.

Tejay van Gaderen, who was third, is the highest-placed rider to abandon.

Race organizers say the others who have dropped out on the road are Sam Bennett with Bora-Argon 18, Nathan Haas of Cannondale-Garmin and Jerome Coppel of IAM Cycling.

Organizers also say Laurent Didier of Trek Factory Racing was not among the 168 riders who started Wednesday in Digne-Les-Bains.

-By John Leicester in Barcelonnette, France.


3:50 p.m.

Greg LeMond says some riders have put motors in their bikes to cheat in cycling's biggest races, including the Tour de France.

Speaking to The Associated Press during Stage 17 of the Tour, the three-time winner of the race said: ''I believe it's been used in racing. I believe it's been used sometimes in the Grand Tours.''

The International Cycling Union says it has checked bikes for motors at this Tour and found none.

LeMond, however, feels ''they're not doing enough'' and described the UCI's checks as ''fluff'' and ''all words.''

-By Jamey Keaten, Pra Loup, France.


3:20 p.m.

It's all over for Tejay van Garderen.

French TV's live coverage of Stage 17 has just shown the American leader of the BMC team clambering off his bike on a climb and getting into a car.

His withdrawal frees up space at the top-end of the overall rankings. He had started Wednesday's stage in third place overall, 3 minutes, 32 seconds behind race leader Chris Froome.

BMC team officials wrapped their arms around his shoulders to comfort the 26-year-old American. Clearly hurting and apparently ill following Tuesday's rest day, Van Garderen was dropped on the first of five climbs. He later caught up the peloton but was dropped again on the third climb and abandoned the race.

-By John Leicester in Barcelonnette, France.


2:40 p.m.

A clearly hurting Tejay van Garderen, the American leader of the BMC team, is sick and at risk of losing his podium spot on Stage 17 of the Tour de France.

Van Garderen started Wednesday's stage in third place overall, 3 minutes, 32 seconds behind race leader Chris Froome. But he has been dropped by Froome and the main pack on the first of five climbs in the first day in the Alps and his team has just said on French television's live coverage that he is ill.

Drips of sweat rolling down his nose, Van Garderen was shown shaking his head as he rides.

-By John Leicester in Barcelonnette, France.


1:30 p.m.

The biggest difficulty on Stage 17 and the Tour's first day in the Alps isn't uphill, but downhill.

A 16-kilometer (10-mile) descent from the Allos mountain pass into a valley before the final climb to the Pra Loup ski station is treacherous because of its bends and uneven road surface.

Eddy Seigneur, sporting director of the IAM team, told the race organizers' website before the start on Wednesday in Digne-Les-Bains that the downhill is ''extremely dangerous,'' and ''the key of the stage.''

-By John Leicester in Barcelonnette, France.


1:05 p.m.

The Tour de France pack is off and running on the first of four grueling days in the Alps with Chris Froome looking to protect his yellow jersey from his biggest rivals.

Wednesday's Stage 17 takes the peloton over four climbs to an uphill finish over the 161-kilometer (100-mile) romp from Digne-les-Bains to the Pra Loup ski station.

On the second and final rest day on Tuesday, several top riders pointed to the harrowing descent from the Allos pass - Wednesday's toughest climb - as the main hazard in the stage.

Race aficionados are expecting defending champion Vincenzo Nibali, one of the best downhill riders, to try to reduce his deficit of 7 minutes, 49 seconds. The Italian lies eighth.

You May Like