TDF Stage 17: Queen Stage won by Lopez

After a star studded breakaway dominated the stage, it was the turn of the GC riders to fight for the stage win and time gains with Miguel Angel “Superman” Lopez take time from Roglic who took time off the rest of his GC rivals

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TDF Stage 17: Queen Stage won by Lopez

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Miguel Angel “Superman” Lopez claimed the queen stage of the 107th Tour of France atop the gruelling and spectacular col de la Loze after he overhauled his old arch-rival Richard Carapaz who had tried his luck from a long way out in the day’s breakaway. The battle of the Slovenians for the overall victory saw Primoz Roglic take time off Pogacar who is the new King of the Mountains.

There were 152 riders who started stage 17 in Grenoble. Defending champion Egan Bernal (Ineos) and Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) were non-starters. It was another fast start with many skirmishes to create the day’s breakaway. Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) was first to open a gap at km 16 before a front group of 25 riders was leading at km 24. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Richard Carapaz (Ineos), Gorka Izagirre (Astana), Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) came out of this group at km 30 and they put the hammer down to ride above 50km/h on the flat roads to open up a gap of six minutes before climbing the col de la Madeleine.

Bahrain-McLaren took over from Jumbo-Visma at the head of the peloton and they quickly reduced the deficit to the four leaders to 3’30″. Tuesday’s stage winner Kämna was dropped from breakaway while Nairo Quintana (Arkea-Samsic), Pierre Rolland (B&B Hotels-Vital Concept), Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) and Dani Martinez (EF) couldn’t hold the pace of the yellow jersey peloton.

Alaphilippe leads Dan Martin in the days breakway. Getty Images

Carapaz crested La Madeleine in first place ahead of Alaphilippe while Pogacar was first over the top in the peloton to become the virtual leader of the KOM competition. Dan Martin lost contact with the head of the race on the downhill. He was brought back by the main group still led by Bahrain-McLaren with 35km to go. At that point, the time difference was 2’40″ after having been reduced to 1’15″ on top of La Madeleine.

Alaphilippe, Izagirre and Carapaz started the 21.5km long final ascent with an advantage of two minutes. halfway up, 12.5km before the end, Alaphilippe dropped back while Pello Bilbao upped the tempo for Bahrain-McLaren in the rapidly shrinking yellow jersey group.

Carapaz then went solo at the front with 9km to go. From a 20″ lead, this grew to to 45″ at the 5km to go mark. With 4km remaining, under the action of David De La Cruz (UAE Team Emirates), Mikel Landa lost contact, soon to be followed by Rigoberto Uran (EF). Lopez (Astana) and Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) caught Carapaz 3km before the top and the Colombian Lopez continued on his own, chased by Roglic while Pogacar gave it all to try and come across to the yellow jersey group which he failed to do.

It was an emotional Lopez who was triumphant on the stage 15 seconds ahead of Roglic in the yellow jersey and then Pogacar who was another 15 seconds behind Roglic.

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Miguel Angel Lopez: “I had this stage in my mind, I was focused on it and tried to come to this day in a right form. I knew that this kind of climbs over 2000 meters above sea level would suit me really well. Big and long climbs like Col de la Loze really suit me because it is similar to the climbs I have at home in Colombia. I feel good on the altitude and today I wanted to do something.

Together with the team we did a good plan before the stage and we tried to follow it from start to finish. I had a great support of my team during the whole day and also in the final Omar Fraile did an excellent job for me. He was phenomenal today! Coming into the last climb I felt quite well, and my legs worked perfectly. Indeed, it was a super hard climb, but I managed to stay in front in the leading group until the decisive kilometers.

I knew this climb very well, because we did a reconnaissance with the team earlier in August, so I knew what to expect and where to try to attack. It was super hard in the final and I had the longest two kilometers of my life, but I continued pushing hard until the finish line. I saw some Colombian fans along the road, they were cheering for me and it also gave me some additional motivation to keep on pushing hard. I am super happy with my win, I was dreaming about it and now I’ve got it. It is so beautiful! – said Miguel Angel Lopez.”

“Well, now I am third in the general classification and of course, I would like to continue fighting for the overall until the finish in Paris. We still have three difficult stages ahead of us, every day could be decisive, and we have to keep our concentration on maximum. I will continue going through this race day by day until Paris, – added Miguel Angel Lopez.

Primoz Roglic (race leader): “I don’t think the job is done. There are still some hard stages to come and Tadej Pogačar is a great climber. I felt really good on the climb, but you can’t compare these last 4-5k to anything else. I’m glad this stage is behind us. Sepp Kuss and I talked during the climb and we decided he could go and try to win the stage, as he could always drop back and help me. Also, the other tried to chase him back and it helped me realise many guys around me were struggling. Sepp’s attack pointed me when to attack myself. On this climb, every meter counts.”

“Having his help was really good. Again, it has been a very big performance from him and the team. Am I happy with the gap I have over Pogacar? Well… It’s never enough gap! You know, when you have something, you always want more. But I was happy with the position I was in before the stage, and now I’m even happier. My fan club has been here since the Grand Colombier stage. These last days I’ve seen so many Slovenian flags on the roadside, all day long. This always gives you some extra energy, it is such an unique feeling. I hope they are proud of us back in Slovenia.”

Tadej Pogacar “I lost a few seconds. It was very steep! I did my best and I’ve lost a bit of time on Lopez and Roglic but it’s not a bad day. And it’s not over yet. There’s another difficult stage tomorrow. It’ll be another hard battle. I can still lose my spot on the podium. Anyway I’ll try until the end.”

Adam Yates: “It is one of the first climbs that we have been really at altitude, so it was a tough day. I held on as long as I could, so I’ve got to be happy with that. Once we got into that last seven-kilometre section, we actually went pretty easy for that first bit, I think everybody was saving, they didn’t really know what to expect. UAE then started riding a really hard pace and from then on it was everyman for themselves. I just hung on for as long as I could. We’ve got a big stage tomorrow with a lot of altitude metres so it will be a tough day and then after that all we have got is the TT, so we’ve got one big day left in the mountains then one day all by myself. Hopefully tomorrow I have good legs and can keep trying.”

Enric Mas (6th): “I won’t deny I’m feeling happy about my performance, yet it’s true that I would have liked to finish a bit closer to the top contenders, because I was feeling great until the last 3km. Maybe the altitude was taking its toll, too, but it’s just down to the rivals being stronger. The pace during the entire Tour, always full gas, pays in finishes like this one”.

“It’s been a brutal race and all that wear and tear, as we enter the third week, creates these gaps by itself. We finished one by one, and everybody was dead tired (smiles). In our case, as a team, we have been steadily progressing all over the race; our preparations were focused on reaching our top condition at this stage of the Tour, and so here we are. Three weeks, one month ago we were at the Dauphiné and we didn’t think we would be here in 8th place overall, close to the top-5 – Let’s keep pushing. There’s another great stage to see more time gaps tomorrow and López has shown the Slovenians are not unbeatable. It will be another crucial day tomorrow.”

Julian Alaphilippe: “I knew what we would face today, as I did a recon with Dries and Bob a couple of weeks ago. To be honest, it wasn’t my goal to be in the break, but I felt good and attacked, and when I saw we had a gap I just kept pushing. You never know what can happen, so it’s always worth trying. It’s always nice to get the combativity trophy and really special to be again on the Tour de France podium.”

Sam Bennett: “It was a tough one today. I put in a good fight at the beginning, tried to get some points and did it with the help of Michael. Then on the first climb it was quite ok, but towards the end it became harder, as the climb was in steps and the rhythm always changed. But I am glad that I ticked it off and will continue to fight for this jersey”, said Bennett atop Col de la Loze.

Lennard Kämna  “Today was a hard stage. I made it to the breakaway group but I didn’t have the legs to follow them on the Col de la Madeleine. So, after that, I just wanted to ride to the finish.”

Nairo Quintana: “It was one of the toughest days of my life. I was behind, I suffered a lot. But it’s a day that will teach us. It’s never too late to learn. I am suffering, but I represent a great team, great partners. It’s pride that drives me, even though it hurts. I want to finish this Tour de France 2020, and see Paris on Sunday. ”

Sepp Kuss “We have explored this stage several times. But it is different in a competition. I felt really good. The plan was that I would attack and force the competition to chase. Lopez and I were slightly ahead, but he was going so fast I couldn’t follow him. I didn’t want to blow myself. I’ve been waiting for Primoz and luckily he was good enough to get time on Tadej. On a col like the Loze, with the many tempo changes, it is difficult to close a gap once there is one. This was a great day for us. ”

Tom Dumoulin “This is an excellent result. We take time on Pogacar. We did not expect that immediately. We had the stage under control. Because of Bahrain’s work, we have not had to chase. For us it was a great situation with that leading group, because then the bonuses were gone. We were well represented with six riders. That was nice. The final climb is a fair climb and then you see that Primoz is one of the best in this Tour. ”

Hugh Carthy: “Rigo was looking good on the final climb. It was hard and really steep. We’re a little disappointed but overall we couldn’t have done anything different. We tried our best.”

Rigo Urán: “It was a really tough stage today and the final part of the climb was tricky, but I just did what I always do, and I tried my best all the way to the finish. We’ve lost quite a bit of time, but we’ll keep fighting right to the end, like always. Tomorrow is going to be another hard stage, it could be one where everything changes again, just need to try and recover well before then, and give it everything that we have again tomorrow.”

Valentin Madouas: “I enjoyed today,” said the young man. “Things were going pretty well in La Madeleine so I thought I should hang on. I missed a little bit to stay with the group, but then in the final it was really down to the legs. Honestly it’s one of the toughest climbs I’ve ever done, the slopes are incredible”.

Richie Porte: “When I reconned this stage in July with Bauke (Mollema) we knew it was going to be the queen stage at the Tour. To get through and come away in a better position than how we started makes me happy. It was a fistfight to be honest,” explained Porte. “It was every man for himself. Sepp Kuss was there for Roglic but at the end of the day there was nothing teammates could do to really help.”

“There are climbs in cycling like the Zoncolan that are absolutely brutal, but today, with the final at altitude, I could barely pedal my bike,” he continued. “With 500 meters to go I couldn’t stand up. Everybody went super deep. It was a hard day, but I’m happy with the way it turned out. Tomorrow is another hard day; we’ll see how the legs [get] back up. I’m happy to move to fourth on GC. Let’s see how it is tomorrow and get through Friday, then hopefully do a good time trial as well.”

Richard Carapaz: “I don’t feel disappointed for not having won today. We’re very happy with the work we’ve done. We can’t always win. In fact, as cyclists, we’re more used to losing than winning. Whatever comes from now on in this Tour de France will be welcome. Lennard Kämna was the strongest today. I did my best. I couldn’t do more. It’s a well-deserved triumph for him, and for me it means a lot to come second in a Tour de France stage. We have important days ahead of us. To win a stage would be the best for the team. We wake up every day with this dream and we hope to make it true.”

Guillaume Martin “It was an intense day again, as we expected. The Bahrain-Merida imposed a big tempo from the foot of the Col de la Madelaine which caused a strong slimming down in the peloton. On the final ascent, it went up faster and faster. I didn’t miss much to keep up. I did my best until the end and gave everything I could. There is no need to regret or disappointment as there are still opportunities ”

Stage Result
1. Miguel Angel Lopez Astana Pro Team 04:49:08 120
2. Primoz Roglic Team Jumbo – Visma @ 15 50
3. Tadej Pogacar UAE Team Emirates @ 30 25
4. Sepp Kuss Team Jumbo – Visma @ 56 15
5. Richie Porte Trek-Segafredo @ 01:01 5
6. Enric Mas Movistar Team @ 01:12
7. Mikel Landa Bahrain-McLaren @ 01:20
8. Adam Yates Mitchelton-Scott @ 01:20
9. Rigoberto Uran EF Pro Cycling @ 01:59
10. Tom Dumoulin Team Jumbo – Visma @ 02:13
11. Richard Carapaz INEOS Grenadiers @ 02:41
12. Alejandro Valverde Movistar Team @ 02:48
13. Damiano Caruso Bahrain-McLaren @ 03:30
14. Guillaume Martin Cofidis @ 03:59
15. Valentin Madouas Groupama-FDJ @ 04:09
16. Kenny Elissonde Trek-Segafredo @ 06:12
17. Carlos Verona Movistar Team @ 06:53
18. David De La Cruz UAE Team Emirates @ 07:15
19. Wout Van Aert Team Jumbo – Visma @ 07:15
20. Warren Barguil Team Arkea-Samsic @ 07:15

23. Hugh Carthy EF Pro Cycling @ 09:49
26. Julian Alaphilippe Deceuninck-Quick Step @ 18:05
31. Daniel Martin Israel Start-Up Nation @ 20:05
46. Nairo Quintana Team Arkea-Samsic @ 25:17
71. Connor Swift Team Arkea-Samsic @ 25:48
104. Jack Bauer Mitchelton-Scott @ 28:30
131. Luke Rowe INEOS Grenadiers @ 30:09
134. Sam Bennett Point jersey Deceuninck-Quick Step @ 30:22

1. Primoz Roglic Team Jumbo – Visma 74:56:04
2. Tadej Pogacar UAE Team Emirates @ 57
3. Miguel Angel Lopez Astana Pro Team @ 01:26
4. Richie Porte Trek-Segafredo @ 03:05
5. Adam Yates Mitchelton-Scott @ 03:14
6. Rigoberto Uran EF Pro Cycling @ 03:24
7. Mikel Landa Bahrain-McLaren @ 03:27
8. Enric Mas Movistar Team @ 04:18
9. Tom Dumoulin Team Jumbo – Visma @ 07:23
10. Alejandro Valverde Movistar Team @ 09:31

Full Result Here:

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