Simon Geschke of the Giant-Alpecin celebrated his first Tour de France stage win of his career on Wednesday after riding to success in stage 17.
The day’s ride took the remaining 168 riders over 161 km from Digne-les-Bains – Pra-Loup in the Alps.
The first major event of the day saw BMC’s Tejay van Garderen abandoned the race through illness.
At the time the American was third overall.
The second saw Alberto Contador lose over two minutes after crashing on the descent of the final climb of the day – category 1 Col d’Allos.
The Spaniard dropped to fifth overall just behind Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas.
It was a brighter day for Geschke who with just under 50 kilometres to go broke from a breakaway group of 28 riders – it turned out to be a break that lasted all the way to the line.
He eventually crossed the line for his third career win – 32 seconds clear of second placed Andrew Talansky of the US.
Team Sky’s 2013 champion Chris Froome retained the yellow jersey as he came home along with closest title rive Nairo Quintana.
Three minutes and 10 seconds seperate the pair with Spain’s Alejandro Valverde third at four minutes and nine seconds.
Thursday’s stage 18 is a tough but stunning 186.5 kilometre Alpine trek from Gap to Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne.