Skip to main content
//empty //empty

Miguel Angel Lopez crosses the finish line to win stage 17 of the Tour de France in Meribel, France, on Sept. 16, 2020.

STUART FRANKLIN/Reuters

Colombian rider Miguel Angel Lopez won the toughest mountain stage of this year’s Tour de France, while race leader Primoz Roglic added a few crucial seconds to his advantage over rival Tadej Pogacar.

Roglic finished 15 seconds behind Lopez in second place, while Pogacar trudged over the line 30 seconds behind Lopez in third.

The 170-kilometre trip’s final ascent to the Meribel ski station was the high point of this year’s race at 2,304 metres, winding up a Loze pass never before ridden and with tortuous gradients of 24 per cent.

Story continues below advertisement

Lopez timed his attack perfectly with just less than three kilometres to go while Roglic accelerated away from Pogacar, who clawed some of the gap back but may have bid farewell to his chances of winning the Tour.

Roglic is 57 seconds ahead of Pogacar with four stages remaining. Lopez overtook Rigoberto Uran to move up to third overall and is 1 minute 26 seconds behind Roglic heading into another testing mountain stage on Thursday. Uran dropped to sixth.

Canada’s Hugo Houle, a support rider for the Astana Pro Team, was 55th in the 17th stage. The 29-year-old from Sainte-Perpetue, Que., is 47th overall.

As riders tackled the steepest section of the Loze, where tarmac was laid last year on a mountain path which is only open to bikes, Pogacar increased the pace with about four kilometres left while Roglic tucked behind him and Uran was dropped.

Lopez then attacked and went after Richard Carapaz, one of five riders who had formed an early breakaway group and the last to be caught with 3 kilometres remaining.

With Lopez surging ahead, Roglic attacked his Slovenian countryman Pogacar, who responded well near the end to limit the damage.

French President Emmanuel Macron was on hand to applaud Lopez when he crossed the finish line after 4 hours, 49 minutes and 8 seconds of a grueling trek which featured two of the hardest climbs known as Hors Categorie, or beyond category.

Story continues below advertisement

Earlier, Macron had been a keen spectator in race director Christian Prudhomme’s red car, and as the camera pointed at them they were seen applying hand sanitizing gel. Prudhomme recently returned to the race following a period in isolation after testing positive for the coronavirus.

The others in the early breakaway group were Julian Alaphilippe, Dan Martin, Gorka Izagirre and Lennard Kmna, the winner of Tuesday’s stage with a solo effort.

They upped the tempo as they passed the stunning Château de Miolans, a fortress perched on a hilltop which the Counts of Savoy turned into a prison that French nobleman the Marquis de Sade escaped from in the late 18th century.

By the time they reached the foot of the Madeleine pass – the first of the day’s two HC climbs – they were about six minutes up on the yellow jersey group. The Madeleine is one of the most famed on the Tour and the second-highest summit on this year’s race at 2,000 metres.

When they reached the top after an ascent of 17.1 kilometres their lead over the yellow jersey group had been whittled down to 1:15.

Sam Bennett kept the green jersey for best sprinter but Benoît Cosnefroy faded early in the final ascent and lost his best climber’s polka-dot jersey to Pogacar.

Story continues below advertisement

Defending champion Egan Bernal pulled out before Wednesday’s stage. The Colombian had been struggling since Friday’s stage in the Jura mountains, where he dropped more than seven minutes on the main contenders.

Stage 18 from Meribel is 175 kilometres long and another demanding one with an early Category 1 climb, followed by another one up the Aravis pass and the Hors Categorie Plateau des Glières before an undulating descent to La Roche-sur-Foron.

Follow related topics

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies