Lopez wins hardest Tour stage, Roglic retains yellow jersey

Meribel, September 16

Colombian rider Miguel Angel Lopez gained the hardest mountain stage of this 12 months’s Tour de France, whereas race chief Primož Roglic added just a few essential seconds to his benefit over rival Tadej Pogacar.

Roglic completed 15 seconds behind Lopez in second place, whereas Pogacar trudged over the road 30 seconds behind Lopez in third.

The 170-km (105.4-mile) trek’s last ascent to the Méribel ski station was the excessive level of this 12 months’s race at 2,304 meters, winding up a Loze cross by no means earlier than ridden and with tortuous gradients of 24%.

Lopez timed his assault completely with just below three kilometers to go whereas Roglic accelerated away from Pogacar, who clawed among the hole again however might have bid farewell to his probabilities of profitable the Tour.

Roglic is 57 seconds forward of Pogacar with 4 levels remaining. Lopez overtook Rigoberto Urán to maneuver as much as third general and is 1 minute, 26 seconds behind Roglic heading into one other testing mountain stage on Thursday. Urán dropped to sixth.

As riders tackled the steepest part of the Loze, the place tarmac was laid final 12 months on a mountain path which is barely open to bikes, Pogacar elevated the tempo with about 4 kilometers left whereas Roglic tucked behind him and Uran was dropped.

Lopez then attacked and went after Richard Carapaz, one among 5 riders who had fashioned an early breakaway group and the final to be caught with three kilometers remaining.

With Lopez surging forward, Roglic attacked his Slovenian countryman Pogacar, who responded properly close to the top to restrict the harm.

French President Emmanuel Macron was readily available to applaud Lopez when he crossed the end line after Four hours, 49 minutes and eight seconds of a grueling trek which featured two of the toughest climbs generally known as Hors Categorie, or past class.

Earlier, Macron had been a eager spectator in race director Christian Prudhomme’s crimson automobile, and because the digital camera pointed at them they had been seen making use of hand sanitizing gel. Prudhomme just lately returned to the race following a interval in isolation after testing optimistic for the coronavirus.

The others within the early breakaway group had been Julian Alaphilippe, Dan Martin, Gorka Izagirre and Lennard Kämna, the winner of Tuesday’s stage with a solo effort.

They upped the tempo as they handed the gorgeous Château de Miolans, a fortress perched on a hilltop which the Counts of Savoy become a jail that French nobleman the Marquis de Sade escaped from within the late 18th century.

By the time they reached the foot of the Madeleine cross — the primary of the day’s two HC climbs — they had been about six minutes up on the yellow jersey group. The Madeleine is without doubt one of the most famed on the Tour and the second-highest summit on this 12 months’s race at 2,000 meters.

When they reached the highest after an ascent of 17.1 km (10.6 miles) their lead over the yellow jersey group had been whittled right down to 1:15.

Sam Bennett saved the inexperienced jersey for finest sprinter however Benoit Cosnefroy light early within the last ascent and misplaced his finest climber’s polka-dot jersey to Pogacar.

Defending champion Egan Bernal pulled out earlier than Wednesday’s stage. The Colombian had been struggling since Friday’s stage within the Jura mountains, the place he dropped greater than seven minutes on the principle contenders.

Stage 18 from Méribel is 175 kilometers (108.5 miles) lengthy and one other demanding one with an early Category 1 climb, adopted by one other one up the Aravis cross and the Hors Categorie Plateau des Glières earlier than an undulating descent to La Roche-sur-Foron. AP

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