Edvald Boasson Hagen took his and Team Sky's second stage win of this year's Tour de France in Pinerolo this afternoon, but race leader Thomas Voeckler conceded more time in the overall standings.
Boasson Hagen was in the main break of the day and made his bid for glory towards the top of the final climb, the Cote de Pramartino, and managed to stay upright on the fast 8km run in to the finish.
Behind, Alberto Contador and Samuel Sanchez tried breaking clear on the descent, but were caught by the Schleck brothers and Cadel Evans within the final kilometre.
However Voeckler, who nearly fell on the early part of the downhill, ran wide and was unable to rejoin the favourites.
The maillot jaune, along with Ivan Basso, lost 27 seconds to their GC rivals.
Afternoon delight for Eddie Bos
Boasson Hagen won stage six into Lisieux, and was outsprinted by Thor Hushovd twenty-four hours ago.
Unsurprisingly, he was
pleased to take his second Tour stage as the race crossed the Italian border this afternoon.
"It was a really great day today," he said at the finish. "I was disappointed yesterday not to win win."
"I tried to get in the break again and the team did a great job to get me in it.
"It took a long time to happen but finally we went away. I felt great the whole day and got some extra power because I wanted to win and also from the fans on course," he added.
Escape group battles for glory
Boasson Hagen was one of 14 riders who escaped early on in the 179km stage.
Initially instigated by Sandy Casar (FDJ), Ruben Perez (Euskatel), Bauke Mollema, Maarten Tjallingii (Rabobank), Dmitriy Fofonov (Astana), Dmitriy Muravyev (RadioShack), Andrey Amador (Movistar), Maciej Paterski (Liquigas), Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step), Julien El Fares (Cofidis), Borut Bozic, Bjorn Leukemans (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Jonathan Hivert (Saur-Sojasun) also made it across.
Their lead was consistent, although never soared above nine minutes as Casar was in the top 25 overall at the start of the day.
Behind, Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) and his team-mates were happy to let the break go, particularly that left just one point for the peloton to compete for at the intermediate sprint at Villar-Saint-Pancrace, which Cavendish duly took.
The green jersey leader made it up the second category climb of the Col de Montgenevre and the harder ascent up to Sestrieres, and was only shelled out in the final 20km.
He made it to the finish safely, and barring a hiccup, should keep the points competition lead to Paris.
Euskatel blink first
Ahead, Perez jumped out of the leading group half-way up the climb of Sestrieres, and quickly amassed a 1-30 gap on the 13 chasers.
It looked good for the Spaniard until he got to the final climb, the Pramartino, which began with 16km remaining.
His lead had been whittled down to just 30 seconds, and a flurry of attacks from those behind meant he was soon within sight. Once caught, Chavanel was the first to put in a big dig, before Boasson Hagen followed and soon passed the Frenchman.
At the top of the climb, the Sky rider had a solid gap over his nearest chasers, who were now Hivert and Mollema.
Hivert ran wide early on the descent, but his efforts to stay upright didn't count for much as he fell just a handful of corners later.
Rabobank's Mollema ploughed on, but never looked like catching the lone leader. He eventually took second.
Contador goes again
After his time gains yesterday, Alberto Contador tested the Schleck brothers once again, attacking twice on the ascent.
Both moves were followed, although only Samuel Sanchez could stay with him when the Spaniard broke clear on the descent.
Voeckler ran wide on one corner and then overshot a left-hander, and was forced to head down someone's driveway to stay upright. Hivert, just minutes before, also had to take this escape road to prevent falling off again.
Boasson Hagen crossed the line, arms aloft and pointing to his sponsor's logo, but the real interest was behind.
The Schlecks and Evans were chasing down Contador and Sanchez, Basso was in another group behind and Voeckler after him.
As the Spanish duo rounded the final bend onto the finishing straight, the Schleck group caught up with them - you could almost hear the relief from the brothers and the Australian.
Voeckler once again ensured his losses were minimal, but any talk of him holding on to Paris must surely be over, considering what lies ahead before the race finishes on Sunday.
Tour de France 2011 stage 17; Gap-Pinerolo, 179km
1. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Sky in 4-18-00
2. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank at 40 sec
3. Sandy Casar (Fra) FDJ at 50 sec
4. Julien El Fares (Fra) Cofidis
5. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step all at st
6. Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz) Astana at 1-10
7. Maciej Paterski (Pol) Liquigas
8. Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) RadioShack
9. Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Saur-Sojasun
10. Borut Bozic (Slo) Vacansoleil-DCM all at st.
70. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky at 12-36
154. Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky at 14-15
165. David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Cervelo
166. Mark Cavendish (GBr) HTC-Highroad all at st.
General classification after stage 17
1. Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Europcar in 73-23-49
2. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing at 1-18
3. Frank Schleck (Lux) Leopard-Trek at 1-22
4. Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard-Trek at 2-39.
5. Samuel Sanchez (Esp) Euskatel-Euskedi at 2-59
6. Alberto Contador (Esp) Saxo Bank-Sungard at 3-15
7. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-ISD at 3-34
8. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale at 3-49
9. Tom Danielson (USA) Garmin Cervelo at 6-04
10. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Team Sky at 7-36
41. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky at 43-43
65. David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Cervelo at 1-14-10
124. Mark Cavendish (GBr) HTC-Highroad 2-10-00
132. Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky at 2-14-23
Geraint Thomas was in an early escape group
Europcar head the bunch
Cadel Evans attacks the contenders group
Thomas Voeckler and Jelle Vanendert
Edvald Boasson Hagen takes his second 2011 Tour stage win
Tour de France 2011: Latest news
Evans in driving seat as Tour heads towards decisive stages
Cavendish's green jersey chances looking 'good'
Evans gains time as the weather leaves its mark
Schlecks falter ahead of Tour's final mountain days
Tour analysis: How the Schlecks can win
Swift sprinting towards Tour win
Cavendish joint seventh in all-time Tour list
Weather wreaks havoc in Etape du Tour
Basso back for Tour de France win
Garmin-Cervelo celebrate third Tour win
Geraint Thomas: "I had goosebumps on the Tourmalet"
Schlecks distance Contador in Tour mountain stage
Greipel gripes about 'crazy' Feillu
Tour de France Feed Zone (July 13)
Greipel's first Tour stage win 'extra special'
Greipel takes first win over Cav since HTC split
UCI defends its stance on tilted saddles
Kolobnev tests positive at Tour
Contador worried by knee injury
Tour rest day review (July 11)
Voeckler living the yellow jersey dream again
Hoogerland's Horror crash
Tour de France 2011: Teams, riders, start list
Tour de France 2011: Official start list
Tour de France 2011: Who's riding?
Tour de France 2011: Team guide
Tour de France 2011: Stage reports
Stage 16: Evans and Contador go on the attack as Hushovd wins in Gap
Stage 15: Cavendish takes fourth stage win in 2011 Tour
Stage 14: Vanendert surprises the favourites as Voeckler holds on
Stage 13: World champ Hushovd takes well deserved solo Tour win
Stage 12: Sanchez wins at Luz Ardiden as Frank Schleck gains on other contenders
Stage 11: Cavendish moves into green after winning in Lavaur
Stage 10: Greipel beats Cavendish in Tour stage 10 sprint
Stage nine: Sanchez conquers day of crashes and climbs
Stage eight: Costa wins first mountain stage of 2011 Tour
Stage seven: Cavendish wins but Wiggins crashes out of Tour
Stage six: Boasson Hagen takes Sky's first Tour de France win
Stage five: Cavendish wins in Cap Frehel
Stage four: Evans edges out Contador on the Mur-de-Bretagne
Stage three: Farrar sprints to first Tour victory in Redon
Stage two: Garmin win team time trial to put Hushovd in yellow
Stage one: Gilbert blasts to victory as Tour gets off to spectacular start
Tour de France 2011: Highlights videos
Stage 16 video highlights
Stage 15 video highlights
Stage 14 video highlights
Stage 13 video highlights
Stage 12 video highlights
Stage 11 video highlights
Video: Feeding the riders at the Tour
Stage 10 video highlights
Stage nine video highlights
Stage eight video highlights
Stage seven video highlights
Stage six video highlights
Video: Erik Zabel's role as Cavendish's sprint advisor
Stage five video highlights
Video: The ride of Philippe Gilbert at the Tour de France
Stage four video highlights
Stage three video highlights
Stage two video highlights
Stage one video highlights
Tour de France 2011: Photo galleries
Stage 16 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage 15 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage 14 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage 13 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage 12 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage 11 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage 10 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage nine photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage eight photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage seven photo gallery by Graham Watson
Tour de France 2011 wallpaper gallery
Stage six photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage five photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage four photo gallery by Andy Jones
Stage four photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage three photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage two photo gallery by Andy Jones
Stage two photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage one photo gallery by Graham Watson
Tour de France 2011 team time trial training photo gallery by Andy Jones
Tour de France 2011 team presentation by Andy Jones
Tour de France 2011 team press conferences by Andy Jones
Tour de France 2011 team presentation by Graham Watson
Tour de France 2011: Live text coverage
Tour de France 2011 LIVE: CW's text coverage schedule
Stage seven live text coverage
Tour de France 2011: Archive videos
Video: 2003 Centenary Tour
Video: Lance Armstrong retrospective
Video: Behind the scenes at the Tour
Video: Guerini's 1999 stage win
Video: Thrills and spills at the Tour
Video: Armstrong in 1999
Video: The Indurain years
Video: Ladies of the Tour
Video: Best of bizarre
Tour de France 2011: Archive articles1999 Tour de France stage two: Passage du Gois causes chaos
Tour de France 2011: TV schedule
British Eurosport Tour de France 2011 TV schedule
ITV4 Tour de France 2011 TV schedule
Tour de France 2011: Related links
Tour de France: The jerseys, what they are and what they mean
Potted history of the Tour de France
The closest Tours in history
Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Wiggins
Tour de France 2010: Cycling Weekly's coverage index
Tour de France 2011: Older news items
UCI saddle clamp down
Feed Zone (July 4)
Cavendish to start all three grand tours in 2011
2011 Tour de France teams named
Tour de France 2011: Route details
The mountains of the 2011 Tour de France
Cavendish challenging for up to eight stages in 2011 Tour
Wiggins and Team Sky confident but not talking of Tour podium
Contador faces tough questions in pre-Tour press conference
Brits in the Tour de France 2011
UCI and AFLD collaborate on Tour de France dope tests
Contador confirmed for Tour de France
Evans set for Tour de France win
UCI says 'respect Contador at Tour de France'
Contador confirms taking part in Tour de France
Bookies slash odds on Wiggins winning Tour
Halfords launches free Garmin Tour de France fantasy game
How is Ben Swift's first Tour de France going?
Farrar's Tour gamble pays off
Cavendish loses two sprints in one stage
Wiggins off to ideal Tour start
Sky at the Tour team time trial photo special
Vaughters' Garmin-Cervelo team hits cycling's top
Tour GC contenders: the winners and losers after stage one
Already in white, can Geraint Thomas take yellow?
Evans jumps ahead in Tour opener
Tour team time trial training
Cavendish's train must adapt to win Tour stages
Pro predictions: Who will win opening Tour stage?
Tour de France teams presented, Contador booed
Crashes take toll on Tour's favourites
Schlecks within striking distance of Tour's race lead
Wiggins' operation scheduled for Monday
Thomas leads Sky's new focus
Analysis: Cav back on the train again
Sky devastated by Wiggins' exit from Tour
Wiggins crashes out of Tour
Dan Lloyd's busman's holiday at the Tour
Wiggins saw Sky's first Tour win coming
Tour bans motorcyclist after Sorensen's crash
Cavendish's race for the Tour green jersey
Cavendish surprises with Tour stage win and press conference
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