Self-belief lost then found: How Felix Gall won an epic Tour de France stage

A solo victory at Courchevel follows a hard-fought rediscovery of confidence that Gall thought he had lost

Felix Gall on the way to winning stage 17 of the 2023 Tour de France
(Image credit: Marco Bertorello / Getty)

Felix Gall's epic solo victory on one of the hardest stages of this year's Tour de France was testament to the new level of self-belief the Austrian has found with the AG2R-Citroën team.

He crossed the line at Courchevel 34 seconds ahead of Simon Yates (Jayco-AlUla), who himself was carving up the top 10 on GC, moving from eighth to fifth.

Gall, the 25-year-old Austrian who won a stage of the Tour de Suisse in June, said that the French team had given him a new lease of life.

"I didn't have much confidence before joining this team," he said after the stage. "They saw something in me which I didn't any more, and that gave me the confidence again.

"It's not that you gain confidence overnight, it's a slow process," he explained. "But I think it has been a successful process the last one-and-a-half years, and that's why I'm also really grateful."

Gall attacked the leading group with 13km left to ride of the 165.7km stage from Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc to Courchevel, on the steep final climb of the Col de la Loze, staying away to the finish.

The victory also placed Gall within six points of Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) in the Mountains classification, leaving him poised for an assault on the coveted maillot à pois

As to whether that assault would materialise, Gall said: "I think we have to discuss that with the team. At the moment I'm very happy with the stage win – of course if it's possible to also win a jersey. In the Tour it's something very special, but at this moment I don't know."

Gall's escapade also moved him up from 10th to eighth on GC, begging questions about where his future places him in the grand scheme of Grand Tour riding.

"It's a really just my second Grand Tour and it's been a new experience," he said. "But I've gained a lot of confidence the last days, and maybe that's that's my future to be a GC rider.

"But it also costs a lot of energy and yeah, so far I've been happy with one week stage races. But I think for now we're going to enjoy the day and then we see what we do in the future."

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1