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Miguel Ángel López climbed to victory on a decisive stage 17 of the Tour de France, powering away from an elite group in the final kilometers of the Col de la Loze and holding on to get his first Tour stage win in his debut appearance at the race.
Race leader Primoz Roglic rolled across the line 15 seconds later for runner-up honors on the day while Tadej Pogacar arrived third, 30 seconds back. Roglic’s teammate Sepp Kuss was the only other to finish within a minute of López, with Richie Porte taking fifth at 1:01 down, and Enric Mas, Mikel Landa, and Adam Yates the next riders across the line.
López’s huge ride saw him move up the general classification standings from fourth into third, while Roglic continues to lead the race, now with a 57-second gap over Pogacar.
“I am really happy with today’s stage win. I have a lot of emotions right now,” López said after the finish. “We have worked a lot and it was not easy to get here. It is a very special day for me.”
The 170-kilometer stage from Grenoble to Col de la Loze got underway 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.
Kuss hung with him at first, but no one else did, and then Kuss dropped back. Roglic left everyone else behind in pursuit of López, but there was no catching the Colombian, who ascended to a convincing victory atop the climb. His ride saw him move into third overall, while Richie Porte moved up to fourth as Rigoberto Urán dropped to sixth. The mountains classification also saw big changes as Pogacar now leads the battle for polka dots with Roglic not far behind.
Top 10, stage 17
1 LÓPEZ Miguel Ángel (Astana Pro Team) 4:49:08
2 ROGLIC Primoz (Team Jumbo-Visma) 0:15
3 POGACAR Tadej (UAE-Team Emirates) 0:30
4 KUSS Sepp (Team Jumbo-Visma) 0:56
5 PORTE Richie (Trek – Segafredo) 1:01
6 MAS Enric (Movistar Team) 1:12
7 LANDA Mikel (Bahrain – McLaren) 1:20
8 YATES Adam (Mitchelton-Scott)
9 URÁN Rigoberto (EF Pro Cycling) 1:59
10 DUMOULIN Tom (Team Jumbo-Visma) 2:13
Top 10, GC
1 ROGLIC Primoz (Team Jumbo-Visma) 74:56:04
2 POGACAR Tadej (UAE-Team Emirates) 0:57
3 LÓPEZ Miguel Ángel (Astana Pro Team) 1:26
4 PORTE Richie (Trek – Segafredo) 3:05
5 YATES Adam (Mitchelton-Scott) 3:14
6 URÁN Rigoberto (EF Pro Cycling) 3:24
7 LANDA Mikel (Bahrain – McLaren) 3:27
8 MAS Enric (Movistar Team) 4:18
9 DUMOULIN Tom (Team Jumbo-Visma) 7:23
10 VALVERDE Alejandro (Movistar Team) 9:31
In other news
| Bernal abandons the Tour de France
The 17th stage of the Tour got underway without one of the biggest stars in the race, Egan Bernal. The Ineos Grenadiers announced on Wednesday morning before the stage that the 2019 Tour de France champion would not continue at the race.
“We have taken this decision with Egan’s best interests at heart,” said team principal Dave Brailsford in a statement. “Egan is a true champion who loves to race, but he is also a young rider, with many Tours ahead of him and at this point, on balance, we feel it is wiser for him to stop racing.”
Bernal’s Tour did not go according to plan. He came into the race among the very top favorites for yellow, but he dropped out of GC contention on stage 15.
“This is obviously not how I wanted my Tour de France to end, but I agree that it is the right decision for me in the circumstances,” Bernal said. “I have the greatest respect for this race and I am already looking forward to coming back in the years ahead.”
| Vos wins stage 6 of the Giro Rosa
Marianne Vos picked up yet another stage victory at the Giro Rosa on Wednesday, powering to her third win of this year’s race on stage 6.
The 87.8-kilometer trek from Torre del Greco to Nola saw plenty of attacks that whittled away at the peloton, but a reduced lead group brought things back together in time for a sprint to the line. Just as she did on stage 5, Vos again proved fastest in the final kick.
Hannah Barnes took runner-up honors on the day with Lotte Kopecky in third.
Annemiek van Vleuten continues to lead the general classification with three stages left.
Top 10, stage 6
1 VOS Marianne (CCC – Liv) 2:14:24
2 BARNES Hannah (Canyon SRAM Racing)
3 KOPECKY Lotte (Lotto Soudal Ladies)
4 RIVERA Coryn (Team Sunweb)
5 PIETERS Amy (Boels – Dolmans Cycling Team)
6 SIERRA Arlenis (Astana Womens Team)
7 SANGUINETI Ilaria (Valcar – Travel & Service)
8 BARIANI Giorgia (Top Girls Fassa Bortolo)
9 BORGLI Stine (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope)
10 NIEWIADOMA Katarzyna (Canyon SRAM Racing)
Top 10, GC
1 VAN VLEUTEN Annemiek (Mitchelton-Scott) 17:37:28
2 NIEWIADOMA Katarzyna (Canyon SRAM Racing) 1:52
3 VAN DER BREGGEN Anna (Boels – Dolmans Cycling Team) 2:03
4 LUDWIG Cecilie Uttrup (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope) 3:03
5 HARVEY Mikayla (Équipe Paule Ka) 4:21
6 LONGO BORGHINI Elisa (Trek-Segafredo Women) 4:32
7 MOOLMAN Ashleigh (CCC – Liv) 4:34
8 GARCÍA Mavi (Alé BTC Ljubljana) 4:38
9 VOS Marianne (CCC – Liv) 5:02
10 CHABBEY Elise (Équipe Paule Ka) 5:32
| Démare wins stage 2 of the Tour de Luxembourg, riders protest safety conditions
Arnaud Démare won a stage 2 of the Skoda-Tour de Luxembourg on Wednesday that saw riders protesting safety conditions with a long neutralized stretch in the early goings of the stage. As Groupama-FDJ’s Jacopo Guarnieri revealed Tuesday on Twitter, riders were unhappy with the number of parked vehicles along the road, even in the finale of stage 1.
After seeing further problems on stage 2, riders neutralized the race and then met with organizers and UCI commissaires to discuss their concerns.
Racing ultimately resumed and it was Arnaud Démare who rode to the stage victory over Jasper Philipsen and Alexander Krieger in Hesperange. Diego Ulissi continues to lead the race with three stages to go.
| Met updates Rivale road helmet, adds MIPS
Met has given its mid-priced Rivale helmet an update. Notably the new model earns a bump in its safety with a slip plane liner from MIPS. Met also revised the vents and exterior shaping to improve ventilation and aerodynamics.
The larger frontal vents double as an intended dock for your sunglasses, while the retention system is said to provide a full wrap of the head for a comfortable fit. Expect to pay US$180 / £140 / AU$250 for this new lid. See more at Met-helmets.com.
| Zwift announces $450 million in Series C funding
Zwift announced on Wednesday that the company has received a major investment totaling $450 million in Series C funding.
According to a press release, the funding was “led by investment firm KKR,” along with several other investment groups. Zwift co-founder and CEO Eric Min said in the statement that the company “will be increasing headcount within our core product teams” following the new round of investment.
| Coming up at the Tour
Stage 18 will be another tough one at the Tour as the peloton takes on a succession of very hard climbs, including the Montée du plateau des Glières, whose 11.2% gradient will be a major test for the GC hopefuls.
In case you missed it
| Sagan’s green jersey hopes are still alive, but fading
We took a closer look at the stages ahead to gauge Peter Sagan’s chances of taking green.
Today’s featured image of Miguel Ángel López winning stage 17 of the Tour de France comes from Cor Vos.