Sprint star Marcel Kittel has quit the Tour de France after sustaining an injury on the 17th stage; he was wearing the green jersey. Primoz Roglic won the Alpine stage, Chris Froome retained his overall lead.
Primoz Roglic broke away on the mountainous stage 17 on Wednesday, finishing more than a minute clear of the rest of the field. Roglic became the first ever Slovenian rider to win a Tour stage in the process.
The leading riders around Chris Froome were all part of the chasing pack. Rigoberto Uran was second across the line, followed by Froome, with Romain Bardet next in fourth.
Bardet tried to launch an attack on Froome's lead during the stage, breaking away to chase after Roglic. Uran and Froome both managed to shadow their rival, however. The loser on the day was Fabio Aru, who couldn't stick with Bardet's breakaway and rolled in more than half a minute behind his fellow leaders. Having started the stage second overall, 18 seconds off Froome, Aru finished it in fourth.
As a result, the battle for the yellow jersey and 2017 Tour de France victory remains extremely close. Froome has just a 27-second advantage over Rigoberto Uran and Romain Bardet, who are tied for second. Fabio Aru is 53 seconds behind the lead time, Froome's teammate Mikel Landa in fifth is 84 seconds adrift.
Kittel crashes, forced to retire
Marcel Kittel was one of several riders to crash around 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) into Wednesday's first mountain stage from La Mure to Serre-Chevalier. The 29-year-old Quick-Step rider, who sustained injuries to his right arm and shoulder, tried to soldier on but wound up quitting halfway through the day's 183-kilometer stage.
"Started the Tour with tears of joy and finished with tears of big disappointment," Kittel later said on Twitter. "Thank you ALL for your support, most of all my Quick-Step team."
At the time of his retirement, Kittel held the green jersey as the Tour's leading sprinter. The green jersey now goes to Australian Sunweb rider Michael Matthews.
"It's disappointing, obviously. I didn't even know," Kittel's Quick-Step teammate Daniel Martin told DW at the stage's end. "That's a bit of a shocker. I'll really miss him, yeah. That's tough."
Kittel's five stage wins in this year's tour have brought his personal career total to 14, overtaking the previous record for a German of 12, which had been held by Erik Zabel. The native of the eastern German state of Thuringia had been hoping to become the first German to finish the race wearing the green jersey since Zabel did so in 2001.
pfd/msh (dpa, AP, AFP)