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Tour de France 2012: Stage 17 Preview - Bagnères-de-Luchon to Peyragudes 143.5 km (high mountains)

The final day in the mountains and if anyone's going to make a move they need to do it now says Geraint Thomas...

The last day in the mountains and the third and final summit finish of this year’s race is the final opportunity for those climbers who will struggle against the quicker men in Saturday’s time trial to influence the GC. While the Col de Peyresourde regularly features in the Tour - indeed, it also featured on yesterday’s stage - this is the first time that Peyragudes has hosted a finish, on a climb where David Moncoutié won a mountain time trial to clinch the 2010 Route du Sud.

Besides the fight for the overall victory, with five categorised climbs ahead of today’s summit finish, this could also be a decisive day in the battle for the polka dot jersey, with plenty of points on offer. Add in the fact that today also represents a chance for riders who began the Tour with GC hopes but have fallen out of contention to rescue something from the race, and we could be in for a treat.

Geraint Thomas says: At this stage of the race there are going to be tired bodies and it can be very hot as well in the Pyrenees so I think it will be a very big day especially with that HC climb, that will do a lot of softening up and then you could see guys like Cadel Evans going off up the road maybe, with little bridges for someone like him to attack across to - after stage 16 for Cadel that would be pulling something back after a bad day rather than challenging for the overall. Maybe Steve Cummings as well, I think he’ll be looking to get into breaks, he’s had crashes and injuries but I think he’ll be getting stronger during the race and will be really good come these stages. From Brad’s point of view, he doesn't have to attack just stay with the GC favourites then it’s his to win - they are the ones who have to attack. Also, if someone’s a long way off on GC, Vinokourov or a rider like that, and they want to give their Tour one last big hit, today would be a good day, or someone like Nicolas Roche. It will definitely be a strong guy who will win today.

Fantasy Cycling Stage 17 Transfer window closes at 11.55 UK time on Thursday morning

Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.

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