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Superman Lopez wins Alps battle, Roglič adds to lead

Egan Bernal abandons before queen stage

Photo by: Sirotti

In his Tour de France debut Angel “Superman” Lopez won atop the new Col de la Loze climb on Wednesday to jump into a podium position. Lopez is 1:39 ahead of fourth place Richie Porte and 29-seconds behind second place Tadej Pogačar. Primož Roglič added to his yellow jersey lead over Pogačar.

The Course

The route was really about two HC climbs, the Col de la Madeleine (15.8 km at 8.1 percent) and the summit finish on the brand new Col de la Loze, 21.4 km of 7.7 percent, with the last 5 km at 10 percent. The new climb was essentially a bike path, and as the high point of the 107th edition at 2304 metres, it was the Henri Desgranges prize.

The big news at the start was that the reigning champion Egan Bernal, who last even more time on Tuesday, had withdrawn from the race. We should expect him to return to race alongside Chris Froome at the Vuelta a España.

Col de Madelaine

Several attacks just after the start in Grenoble, but the group that emerged consisted of Dan Martin, Richard Carapaz, Julian Alaphilippe, Gorka Izagirre and Tuesday’s winner, Lennard Kämna. The quintet started the climb of the Madelaine with a 6:00 buffer over the peloton.

With Bahrain-Merida pulling, the yellow jersey group kept the breakaway in check and reduced the numbers. Nairo Quintana, who dropped from ninth to tenth on Tuesday, couldn’t hang on to the group.

By the top of the Madeleine, Kämna was gone from the breakaway. Carapaz was first over but the quartet was only 1:23 ahead of the main bunch. Pogačar surged out from the yellow jersey group to grab enough KOM points to take over the lead in the classification, polka dot-clad Benoît Cosnefroy having won all his points in Week 1.

Col de la Loze

Martin lost contact on the descent of the Madelaine, while Alaphilippe temporarily swooped free of the others. The trio started the brutal final climb with a 1:50 lead and Alaphilippe upped the pace with 20-km still to climb.

Was Bahrain-Merida doing Jumbo-Visma’s work or was seventh place Mikel Landa feeling strong?

For several kilometres the race was in a truce, the gap to the fugitives steady and no one attacking. Pello Bilbao’s pace at the front of the Roglič group finally made inroads into the gap, causing Carapaz to accelerate and drop Alaphillipe.

Carapaz carried on solo, with pace from but no moves in the 14-rider chase.

The narrow lane kicked up with 5-km remaining. With 4-km to go Pogačar’s UAE-Emirates teammate took over. Alejandro Valverde and Tom Dumoulin had to let go. Then Mikel Landa and Rigoberto Uran faded. Adam Yates popped.

Angel Lopez attacked and only the Slovenians and Sepp Kuss could come with him. They caught Carapaz with 3-km to climb. Oddly, Sepp Kuss distanced his teammate and Lopez found his wheel.

At 2-km to go Lopez was solo with Kuss, Roglič and Pogačar is pursuit. Pogačar was dropped. At the red kite Lopez had 13 seconds on Roglič and 16 seconds over Pogačar. The younger Slovenian almost caught the older one, but in the end the yellow jersey gained 17-seconds over his closest rival.

More Alps await the riders on Thursday. The last climb that crests 30 km from the finish line is 6 km of 10.9 percent.

2020 Tour de France Stage 17

1) Angel Lopez (Colombia/Astana) 4:49:08
2) Primož Roglič (Slovenia/Jumbo-Visma) +0:15
3) Tadej Pogačar (Slovenia/UAE-Emirates) +0:30

2020 Tour de France GC
1) Primož Roglič (Slovenia/Jumbo-Visma) 74:56:04
2) Tadej Pogačar (Slovenia/UAE-Emirates) +0:57
3) Angel Lopez (Colombia/Astana) +1:26
4) Richie Porte (Australia/Trek-Segafredo) +3:05
5) Adam Yates (Great Britain/Mitchelton-Scott) +3:14
6) Rigoberto Uran (Colombia/EF Pro Cycling) +3:24
7) Mikel Landa (Spain/Bahrain-McLaren) +3:27
8) Enric Mas (Spain/Movistar) +4:18
9) Tom Dumoulin (The Netherlands/Jumbo-Visma) +7:23
10 Alejandro Valverde (Spain/Movistar) +9:31