Stage 17 of the Tour de France brought with it the final mountain top finish of this year’s race, setting up a devilish finish for the general classification contenders to slug it out. With a breakaway out front and Bahrain McLaren suspiciously policing the peloton for much of the day, the race came to a sizzle on the ghastly Col de la Loze. Miguel Angel Lopez capitalised on the steep gradients – topping out at a terrifying 24 percent! – to catapult himself to his first Tour de France stage win, and third place overall. Behind, Primoz Roglic rolled across the line 15 seconds later to extend his lead (and perhaps end RogPog) over Tadej Pogacar, who ceded an additional 15 seconds.
I believe Jumbo’s Sepp Kuss deserved to win this stage. He could have and should have, and as an American I am more than a little salty this afternoon that he was called back to work for Roglic! But that’s what being domestique entails, and that is racing. Could haves and should haves have no place in elite sport, unfortunately. Alrighty … Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I will actually write about the winner. [I agree, though, I’d have loved to see Kuss win! – Ed]
Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) is a deserved winner of this stage. On a day that was supposedly teed up for Mikel Landa and RogPog, Landa flourished. The anecdote that Colombians fare better at high altitudes is nauseously overused in cycling, but it is fair to say Lopez out-rode all others on a climb that reached 2,300 metres. We all know it wasn’t easy, but gosh darn it he made it look like it was!
Col de la Loze
Let’s take a brief moment to think about the final climb that these gents had to lug themselves over today …
If you’re like me, you might think “22 kilometres at an 8 percent average isn’t THAT savage.” And much like me, you would be very wrong. The gradients bring it all into perspective. Just three kilometres under 6 percent gradient. The majority between 6 to 9% percent, and the last 4 kilometres above 9 percent! Not to mention those ungodly 18-24 percent sections. 18-24 is an age range, dearest ASO, gradients that should be ridden!
On another note regarding the climb: Wear your masks, dammit! We’re still in the midst of a pandemic. Give riders space, too!
Bahrain McLaren spent the majority of the day riding on the front of the peloton, offering a jolly good slipstream for Jumbo Visma and the rest of the peloton to sit in. Why? Well, no one is really sure.
It certainly gave us an opportunity to analyse the use of blue in their jerseys, though.
Perhaps Landa wanted to show us what he learned in previous teams?
Whatever it was, Landa brought his bag of faces, and the Twitterverse was here for it!
Unfortunately, what everyone could see happening 60km earlier happened … Bahrain worked all day, and Landa cracked.
In the end, though, it was all explained as we were given an exclusive look into the team bus prior to the stage start.
A Thought For the Breakaway
While Bahrain partook in absurdity and Landa pulled his faces, there was a breakaway! In typical Alaphilippe fashion, we all were treated to a nervy descent. I’m still trying to pry my fingers off my face as I speech-to-text this report.
Julien also flashed Kathi one of his Angstyphilippe faces that we love so much! What a schmoozer.
The real story, however, was Richard Carapaz. With Egan Bernal abandoning this morning, Carapaz plopped himself in the break. He fought hard to win the stage, and came tantalizingly close.
Ultimately, Carapaz was caught in the final 3km as the GC race really kicked off. INEOS have had a rough go of it this year, and it was great to see Carapaz lighting up the road for them today.
Stage 17 Top 5
1 Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno (Astana Pro Team) 04:49:08
2 Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +0:15
3 Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) +0:30
4 Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Should Have Let Kuss Win) +0:56
5 Richie Porte (Trek-Sega-Oh Richie Is Still There!) +1:01
GC Top 10
1 Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 74:56:04
2 Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) +0:57
3 Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Pro Team) +1:26
4 Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) +3:05
5 Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) +3:14
6 Rigoberto Uran (EF Pro Cycling) +3:24
7 Mikel Landa (Bahrain McLaren) +3:27
8 Enric Mas (Movistar) +04:18
9 Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma) +7:23
10 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +9:31
All the jerseys
Leader’s jersey Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma)
Points jersey Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quick Step)
King of the Mountains Tadej Pogacar (UAE)
Best Young Rider Tadej Pogacar (UAE)
Most Combative of the Stage: Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quickstep)
For full race reviews, go to cyclingnews.
Official race website: Le Tour
Header image: ©GETTY/Velo/ Pool