Tour de France stage 17 LIVE: Muret to Saint-Lary-Soulan Col du Portet

Riders take on the Tour's second summit finish on the punishing Col du Portet

Hello and welcome to live coverage of stage 17 of the 2021 Tour de France, a summit finish to the Col du Portet.

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Good morning, we're set for a summit finish on today's stage of the Tour de France, with a brutal finish to the top of the steep Col du Portet.

The profile of today's stage looks quite savage. The opening 114km through the intermediate sprint is slightly uphill before the riders hit the first of two category one climbs, the Col de Peyresourde. The Col du Portet starts with 162km ridden, and averages 8.7% over its 16km.

The summit finish today and tomorrow are the only remaining opportunities for anyone to challenge race leader Tadej Pogačar, who has a very healthy advantage and will be favourite to extend his lead in the time trial on stage 20.

The start for today's stage is a bit earlier today, 11.50 in France or 10.50 if you're in the UK.

There will surely be a fight for the breakaway early on, however unlike yesterday the stage looks unfavourable to a large break group and we may see the GC contenders going for the stage win.

Read some reaction from the race leader yesterday about the other teams' tactics. 

There'll be a lot of hope for a home winner on this stage as it's Bastille Day in France today.

We're just a few minutes from the neutral roll out on today's stage

It's not a warm day, it's not a dry day at the start in Muret, but it's currently not raining hard which the peloton will hope holds off. Of course we're going well above 2000m today at the top of the Portet, where it will be a lot colder.

Today's finishing climb has only been used once in the Tour, that was just three years ago in 2018, the year Geraint Thomas won the overall. Nairo Quintana was the stage victor that day while riding for Movistar - the Colombian will be on the attack looking for mountains points no doubt in a very tight polka-dot jersey fight with Wout Poels, Michael Woods, and Wout van Aert.

The riders are off on the départ fictif around five minutes after the scheduled start. They'll ride a 10km neutralised zone before the flag drop

These are the current KoM standings. It's a tight four-way tussle for the polka-dot jersey, currently worn by Poels, and today could prove decisive. There's a total of 60 points on the course today, with 10 at the Col de Peyresourde, 10 at the Col de Val-Louron, and 40 at the finish.

1. Wout Poels (Ned) Bahrain-Victorious, 74pts
2. Michael Woods (Can) Israel Start-Up Nation, 66pts
3. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkéa-Samsic, 64pts
4. Wout van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma, 64pts

There's some chit chat amongst the peloton on the neutral roll out but you can sense there's some nerves among the bunch on such a hard day. There's rain jackets being donned and some arm warmers with this dreary start. No leg warmers though, with probably few opportunities to take them off once racing is underway

Looks like Cav is expecting to warm-up pretty quickly today

The intermediate sprint today comes around 110km in to the stage with no climbs between the start and the sprint. It looks like Cavendish is aiming to make it to the sprint point after his lead was slashed yesterday following Michael Matthews and Sonny Colbrelli's stint in the breakaway. Here's the current standings:

The flag is waved from the car and here we go, stage 17 is underway

There's attacks immediately but it's fairly cagey with no one completely committing 

Pierre Rolland has attacked but is all alone out front for now

Ineos Grenadiers are looking very active at the front so far. They've got absolutely nothing out of this Tour so far, and will be looking for a stage win before the end of the week as well as helping Richard Carapaz on to the podium

Pierre Rolland is still out solo with 24 seconds, but Deceuninck-Quick-Step are currently policing the front of the peloton

Mark Cavendish has followed an attack here but it's another unsuccessful one 

170km to go: Rolland is out front alone with 34 seconds with no one else so far allowed to escape the grasp of the peloton

Pierre Rolland has been caught with 163km to go, so the whole race is together again

With 158km to go with we have a four-man group just off the front of the peloton, including Lukas Postlberger, Anthony Perez, Dorion Godon, and Danny van Poppel

This group have 28 seconds now with Deceuninck-Quick-Step once again trying to settle the peloton and slow it down

We have Anthony Turgis (TotalEnergies) and Maxime Chevalier (B&B) between the two groups trying to make it up to the breakaway

There's another attacked from the peloton, Julien Bernard (Trek) has made a move to try and catch the break

Maxime Chevalier riding along trying to catch the break with is gilet open, looking remarkably inefficient in his pursuit 

This looks like the breakaway with the gap to the yellow jersey group at 2-12 now.

The breakaway is now a group of six with 147km remaining as Chevalier and Turgis making it to the front. Bernard still trails by 1-18 but the peloton is now slowed up and losing time at 4-08.

Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) has abandoned. He was hanging around the back of the peloton at the start of the stage but has since thrown in the towel. 

It's not clear what the problem is with Kruijswijk, but he's abandoned at a point where peloton is not racing along quickly. It leaves Jonas Vingegaard fairly depleted in terms of team-mates, though the Dane has done it by himself quite well so far since Primoz Roglic dropped out.

Jumbo-Visma have just explained Kruijswijk's abandonment, saying the Dutchman had been feeling ill during the rest day. He'll now recover and focus on the Vuelta a España in August where he'll try and help Primoz Roglic to a third overall title.

Never forget

With 138km to go the breakaway now had 5-10 on the peloton. Unfortunately for Julien Bernard, he's stuck in a bit of no-man's land. He's got a minute to try and close on a flying breakaway group, but is four minutes ahead of the peloton. He's not making many inroads at the moment on this break.

Jonas Vingegaard is expecting a big fight on the Col du Portet today. He so far has looked like the only rider who can threaten the dominance of Tadej Pogacar.

Bradley Wiggins has said seeing Julien Bernard is "like watching a pigeon slowly dying in Leicester Square" as he tries to make his way to the breakaway.

It looks like Julien Bernard has given in on this effort with the gap out to almost two minutes now. He might be better off saving his legs at this point for tomorrow.

129km to go: 

Julian Bernard has had to give up the chase after his formidable effort to try and catch the break.

We're inside the final 100km now and the breakaway is still holding it's hap at eight minutes over the peloton.

Quick recap:

We should be getting some action very soon, as the race heads towards the intermediate sprint at the foot of the first climb of the day.

The break is through the intermediate sprint. Danny van Poppel takes the maximum with 20 points, followed by Turgis on 17 and Godon taking 15. 

The peloton is through the intermediate sprint.

Here's how the points classification looks now: 

The breakaway are now on to the first climb of the day the Col de Peyresourde (13.3km at 6.9 per cent). 

Here's a reminder of the profile - we're on the first climb of the day, the Col de Peyresourde, one of the Tour's most frequently used climbs in the Pyrenees.

Pierre Latour has joined Gesbert, Quintana and Poels out front - they have around 20 seconds on the yellow jersey group. The breakaway is at 7-13 with 6.9km to the top of the climb.

Riders are starting to get shelled out the back of the peloton quickly now with 55km to go. We've seen Cavendish dropped but the likes of Froome, Mads Pedersen, Harry Sweeny are all dropping away too

The leading six is still together with 53km to go:

There's groups spread out down the mountain here as the break have 3.6km to go to the top. The gruppetto will form soon and these riders will work together to beat the time cut.

One of those riders struggling on the Peyresourde is Simon Clarke... but it's understandable:

Danny van Poppel is the first rider dropped from breakaway.

UAE are looking strong here as they pull back Quintana and Poels. Marc Hirschi, who struggled in the opening weeks of the Tour following a crash, is doing a big turn up the climb

It's not been a great start to the climbing for Ineos.

The breakaway has crossed the top of the Peyresourde with Anthony Turgis taking maximum points. The Frenchman isn't really a feature in the KoM competition.

UAE's pace on the front of the peloton has cut this gap down quickly. The break is only at around four minutes ahead, so they could be caught on the next climb.

The next climb, which comes with around 37km remaining (so 8km time) is the Col de Val Louron-Azet, which is 7.4km at 8.3%.

It's a super fast descent down the Peyresourde.

The five remaining breakaway riders have 36km to go and are on a short bit of flat road before the next climb. They currently have 4-35 on the yellow jersey group with Latour somewhere in between on his own.

The breakaway hit the Col de Val Louron-Azet

There were actually only four riders remaining in the break ahead of this climb, with Perez, Godon, Turgis and Postlberger all there. The latter pulls over immediately as they start to climb with now just three Frenchman out front on Bastille Day with a four minute advantage.

Pierre Latour is about to be caught by the UAE led peloton. This could be setting things up for Pogacar to really finish the GC race off today with a stage victory.

The breakaway has fallen apart completely now and we have a lone leader in Anthony Perez (Cofidis). He has no chance of holding off this UAE train with 3-56 in hand, but he'll fight for as long as possible to take the combativity prize on Bastille Day. 

This penultimate climb is really taking its toll on the main group, with some of the best climbers losing contact.

Anthony Perez leads over the top of the Col de Val Louron-Azet as the lone leader.

27km left to race for Perez as he descents towards the foot of the Portet. 

Wout Poels puts in a big attack at the summit of the Val Louron-Azet to scoop the points on offer in the KoM competition.

Dorian Godon (Ag2r-Citroën) from the original break is still alone on the road and trying to chose down Perez, but he's one minute behind. 

Ooooh! Tense moment in the GC group, as they ran wide on a right-hand turn on the descent, with Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) forced to leave the road and ride on the grass. 

Godon has been descending brilliantly and has caught Perez on the descent.

Godon and Perez are onto this beast of a final climb, 15km to the summit for them. 

At the front of the race Godon is struggling! 

Geraint Thomas is going backwards in the GC group. It's a rare occasion but UAE have the same amount of support in the mountains as Ineos Grenadiers now.

Castroviejo moves up to the front of the race briefly for Carapaz, but quickly slips back as Majka continues to control the pace. 

Perez is suffering badly now and he still has 9.5km to the summit.

Just 16 riders left in the GC group now, with Pogačar's team leading proceedings. 

Pogačacar attacks! A long long way to the summit but the yellow jersey is going for it. 

Perez is caught already after that big move by Pogačar. 

Pogačar attacks again on the 12 per cent gradient. This is unbelievable stuff.

Urán is in trouble. He's slowed and lost contact. The Colombian is second overall so it's in the interest of Carapaz and Vingegaard to work together to distance him as much as possible. 

Vingegaard is happy to ride with Pogačar to try and put Uràn even further behind.  

Pogačar and Vingegaard look rock solid with 6km to the line, barely showing any effort or emotion on their face.

Current situation: 

Gaudu is on the attack from the second group and is trying to get close to the Pogačar group. He's 37 seconds down and isn't likely to catch the trio at the front, but its a respectable effort by the Frenchman on his national holiday. 

2.4km to the summit and Pogačar lights it up yet again.

Carapaz goes on the offensive! 

Inside the final kilometre now and Carapaz is pulling hard, but Pogačar is sitting on his wheel. 

Vingegaard is getting back onto Carapaz and Pogačar, clinging on to second place overall.

Pogačar sprints for the line in the final 100m, Carapaz was looking the wrong way. 

Pogačar wins the stage! 

Vingegaard sprints to second place, with Carapaz in third. 

David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) is next across the line, 1-20 behind the winner. 

Stage 17 result: 

General classification after stage 17

Read the full report from today's stage here: 

We've had a report from ITV that Mark Cavendish has safely finished the stage inside the time cut, with just one more mountain stage to come on day 18. 

After today's stage win, Tadej Pogačar is now second in the KoM classification, despite not targeting the polka-dot jersey.

Here's the reaction from Tadej Pogačar after his huge stage win on day 17: 

Don't miss these key moments from another thrilling day in the Pyrenees mountains

Jonas Vingegaard has been on an absolutely storming Tour de France so far. 

Right that wraps up our live updates from stage 17 of the Tour de France 2021. 

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