Simon Geschke (Giant-Alpecin) gave Germany its fifth win in the 2015 Tour de France, claiming stage 17 after attacking from the day’s escape group.
Geschke made his move over the top of the first category Col d’Allos, and then tackled the technical descent with skill to open up a gap over the chasing riders.
Andrew Talansky (Cannondale-Garmin) tried in vain to catch Geschke up the final climb to the ski station of Pra Loup, but ended up coming home for second, half a minute behind Geschke. Colombian Rigoberto Uran (Etixx-QuickStep) regained some climbing form to take third.
In the battle for the yellow jersey, Chris Froome (Team Sky) came under attack from all of his main rivals. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Sxo), Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) all tried to distance Froome at various points, but each time the Briton fought back.
Heading towards the finish line, Quintana tried one last time, but Froome followed. The pair distanced Nibali and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) as they headed towards the finish line.
Disaster struck two of the overall favourites. Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) was evidently suffering very early in the stage, and eventually withdrew from the race. Contador crashed on the descent of the Col d’Allos and lost two minutes over Froome and Quintana.
At the end of the stage, Froome retained his race lead over Quintana with Valverde in third. Despite coming in behind Froome, Quintana and Nibali, Welshman Geraint Thomas (Sky) moved up to fourth overall as van Garderen abandoned and Contador lost time.