Superman Lopez wins Queen Stage as Roglic distanced Rivals
Miguel Angel López (Astana) won his first Tour de France stage atop the brutal slopes of the Col de la Loze and Roglic increases his lead
It was a nail biting finale, and it required a superman effort to win the stage, and Superman Lopez delivered.
He attacked a quartet of riders on the brutally steep slopes of the Col de la Loz, with gradients reaching 24% in the last 2 kms.
In scenes that rivalled Alpe d'Huez, thousands of cycling fans lined the climb with 99% wearing masks.
With 2.5 kms to go after lone leader Carapaz was reeled in, Lopez attacked Roglic, Pogacar, teammate Kuss and an ailing Porte.
The gap opened up, until Roglic launched a scathing counter attack and distanced Pogacar.
Pogacar fought back, but the steep 24% gradient started to bite and just as he closed in on Roglic, he attacked again and started to make gains on Lopez.
As Lopez reached the Flamme Rouge, the gradient kicked up again to 18%.
Lopez won the stage in front of the President of France, as Roglic crossed the line some 15 seconds behind.
A strained Pogacar lost 15 seconds to Roglic.
As a result, Lopez moved up to 3rd place on GC while Roglic extended his lead on all his rivals, Pogacar now 57 seconds behind.
Uran slipped down and lost his podium place, as Porte, Yates and Lopez overhauled him on the final climb. Porte up to 4th and Yates up to 5th on GC, ahead of Uran.
French president Emmanuel Macron followed today's stage alongside Christian Prudhomme. "I think it was very important to show that we need to live with the virus," he told the press.
Tadej Pogacar said to the press afterwards, "I'm happy with my performance, it was a really tough day. Bahrain did a really fast tempo on the Madeleine and on Col de la Loze the race just exploded in the final few kilometres. In that hard finale I'm happy to not lose more time. It's still reachable - tomorrow is another hard day. We'll see what we can do but I think we can be happy with how we rode so far. We will fight to the end. It was just that steep sections then flat sections, that was really hard for me today. Also it was at altitude - one of the hardest final I've ever done. Not really but I saw that on Madeleine there were 10 points for free so I went there and then I also got many points - if i'm in the grasp to take it I will take it. I'm happy to have two jerseys now. The objective is still the general classification, but if i can't take yellow i can take this."
Pogacar now wears the young rider's White jersey and took the Polka Dot jersey from Frenchman Benoît Cosnefroy.
How It Happened
The peloton rolled out for the 170-kilometer stage from Grenoble to the Col de la Loze without Egan Bernal, with the Ineos Grenadiers announcing Wednesday morning that he would be pulling out of the race. Once underway, the stage saw a strong breakaway get clear early, with Richard Carapaz, Julian Alaphilippe, Gorka Izagirre, Dan Martin, and Lennard Kämna forming the lead quintet after a battle at the front of the race on an early uncategorized climb. The peloton allowed the move to get to a maximum advantage of around six minutes, but things tightened on the Col de la Madeleine, the first of two hors categorie climbs on the day.
Kämna was dropped from the break on the way up, while Nairo Quintana lost touch in the GC group behind as Bahrain-McLaren went to work setting a high tempo on the climb. On the descent off the Madeleine, Martin lost touch from the break, leaving three escapees in the lead on the run-in to the final climb, the Col de la Loze.
Bahrain-McLaren continued to push the pace in the yellow jersey group, shelling riders out the back while also whittling away at the gap to the escapees. On the final climb, Carapaz dropped Alaphilippe and then Izagirre, but the GC riders continued to close in.
Just inside the last four kilometers, the yellow jersey group lost multiple big names, including Mikel Landa, despite all of the work his Bahrain-McLaren team had done to push the pace. Before long it was just López, Roglic, Roglic’s Jumbo-Visma teammate Sepp Kuss, Pogacar, and Porte rapidly closing down Carapaz. The former Giro d’Italia winner was caught with around three kilometers to go and then López stormed off the front.
Another Tough Mountain Stage
Stage 18 from Méribel to La Roche-sur-Foron is a 168 km Mountain Stage made for the best Tour climbers. itincludes well over 4,000m of climbing, with the peloton will heading up to the beautiful and stunning climbs of the Cormet de Roselend, then the Col des Saisies followed by Les Aravis and finally the Plateau des Glières, a key stronghold of the French Resistance in WW2, before continuing towards La Roche-sur-Foron.
VIDEO: 2020 Tour de France Stage 17 Highlights
2020 Tour de France Stage 17 Top 10
1 Miguel Angel López (Spa) Astana Pro Team 04:49:08
2 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma 00:00:15
3 Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 00:00:30
4 Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma 00:00:56
5 Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo 00:01:01
6 Enric Mas (Spa) Movistar Team 00:01:12
7 Mikel Landa (Spa) Bahrain-McLaren 00:01:20
8 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott
9 Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Pro Cycling 00:01:59
10 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Jumbo-Visma 00:02:13
2020 Tour de France GC after Stage 17 Top 10
1 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma 74:56:00
2 Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 00:00:57
3 Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno (Col) Astana Pro Team 00:01:26
4 Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo 00:03:05
5 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 00:03:14
6 Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Pro Cycling 00:03:24
7 Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain McLaren 00:03:27
8 Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team 00:04:18
9 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma 00:07:23
10 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 00:09:31