Tour de France 2022 stage 17 preview: short but stunning Pyrenean stage

All you need to know about the route, timings, and what to expect from stage 17

Tour de France
(Image credit: Getty)

Stage 17 of the Tour de France 2022 starts in Saint-Gaudens and finishes in Peyragudes.

This could be the most beautiful stage of the race, as well as the most crucial for those wrestling over the yellow jersey.

When is stage 17 of the Tour de France taking place?

The Tour de France stage 17 takes place on Wednesday, July 20 starting at 12:25 BST with an anticipated finish time of 16:00 BST. 

How long is stage 17 of the Tour de France?

The Tour de France stage 17 will be 129.7 km long.

Tour de France stage 17: expected timings

RouteDistance to goAnticipated Time (BST)
Saint Gaudens129.7km12:25
La Barthe de Neste96.8km13:12
Col d’Aspin64km14:10
Hourquette d’Ancizan48.1km14:39
Peyragudes0km16:00

Tour de France stage 17 route

Tour de France stage 17

(Image credit: Tour de France )

From the flatlands to the north of the Pyrenees in Saint-Gaudens, there’s a 55km run in to the mountains to reach Arreau, at the foot of the first of four passes, the Col d’Aspin. Rising for 12km, its gradient is consistent and not especially steep. 

There’s just a short drop away from the Aspin towards Lac de Payolle and a 180-degree turn to climb the majestic Hourquette d’Ancizan. Once again, it’s not overly challenging but adds to the amount of climbing that the riders will steadily be accumulating, with two tougher climbs to come. The descent away from this pass is fast and technical in parts. 

A very short valley section brings the race to the Col d’Azet, which averages 6.8% across 10.7km. It is, however, very Pyrenean in nature, with frequent changes in gradient. The ramps are easy to begin with, then sharpen considerably in its middle section and again towards the top.

The descent is very fast and technical as it nears the valley beyond. The last climb sticks at around 8% until a right turn towards the Peyragudes altiport, where it sharpens a point or two. The finish on the runway is steeper still, ramping up to 13% for the last few hundred metres.

Useful Tour de France 2022 resources

Tour de France stage 17: what to expect 

This extremely short stage could tempt GC contenders a little way down the leader board to regain lost ground by attacking on the Col d’Azet, from which the road leads very quickly into the final ascent up to Peyragudes. For the yellow jersey team, the key will be avoiding an ambush and maintaining control for as long as possible and then, if there’s the chance, setting up their leader for a stage-winning break that will further secure his position.

Tour de France stage 17: riders to watch

Such has been Tadej Pogačar’s dominance in the high mountains over the last two seasons that it’s hard to see past the defending champion as the most likely winner of a stage like this. Jumbo-Visma's Jonas Vingegaard should be prominent, while Ineos Grenadiers will be hoping that Geraint Thomas will be in the same form that enabled him to negotiate a tricky run of Pyrenean stages towards the end of the 2018 Tour he won.

Froome's brilliant bluff

As the peloton headed towards Peyragudes on stage 12 of the 2017 Tour, race leader Chris Froome gradually began to realise that he was suffering a ‘jour sans’, one of those days when the legs don’t respond in the way that a rider expects them to, usually because they’ve under-fuelled during the previous stage or evening. 

Although the Briton was in yellow, his lead over Fabio Aru was just 18 seconds, while Romain Bardet and Rigoberto Urán were also within a minute of him. The 209.5km stage began easily enough, but there were four tough climbs packed into the second half of it. On the first, the Col de Menté, Froome sat in behind a line of Sky team-mates setting the pace for him. The British team stayed in formation over the harder ascent of the Port de Balès. But as they started up the Col de Peyresourde, Froome sensed his resources were dwindling. However, his tactical acuity was as sharp as ever. 

In order to pre-empt attacks by his rivals, he pulled out of the Sky line to the far side of the road and made a point of eyeing up his rivals. His aim was to get them thinking he was sizing them up prior to launching an attack. His bluff paid off. He got back into position and his rivals kept following. When the attacks finally came, the yellow jersey group was in the final few hundred metres of the runway at Peyragudes. Froome couldn’t respond when Bardet, Aru and Urán jumped clear, and Aru moved into the yellow jersey, six seconds ahead of the Briton. But it could have been far worse. He’d saved his Tour hopes and would win the title for a fourth time in Paris.

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Peter Cossins has been writing about professional cycling since 1993, with his reporting appearing in numerous publications and websites including Cycling WeeklyCycle Sport and Procycling - which he edited from 2006 to 2009. Peter is the author of several books on cycling - The Monuments, his history of cycling's five greatest one-day Classic races, was published in 2014, followed in 2015 by Alpe d’Huez, an appraisal of cycling’s greatest climb. Yellow Jersey - his celebration of the iconic Tour de France winner's jersey won the 2020 Telegraph Sports Book Awards Cycling Book of the Year Award.