(written retrospectively on the train to Grenoble, to watch stage 20; stay tuned for more about that :)
So stage 16 was unexpectedly great, with everything, while stage 17 was unexpectedly pedestrian, despite having pretty much the same setup as stage 16. That's how it goes sometimes. There was a break, there was an attack from the break, and Edvard Boassen Hagen beat Sylvain Chavanel to the finish to win, a day after finishing second. (Yeah we could say he has good form :) Behind among the leaders Alberto Contador attacked on the Cat 1 Sestrieres, but was marked by Andy Schleck and the continually surprising Thomas Voeckler. This whittled the group down but did nothing to the GC overall. On the long descent back down there were some adventures (Jonathan Hivert nearly crashed several times in the break, and Thomas Voeckler nearly did too, losing 30s from his GC lead) and for a bit it looked like ace descenders Contador and Samuel Sanchez might be able to pull some time. But in the end the Schlecks and Evans pulled even, and we reload for stage 18...
... which is going to be amazing... who could wait for this? Three HC climbs in a row, with a mountaintop finish on the Col du Galibier, the highest ever in the Tour. Should be GC fireworks for sure...