Andersen wins a 2nd stage; Roglic, challengers gird for decisive time trial
Champagnole, France, Sep 18 (efe-epa).- Denmark’s Soren Kragh Andersen got his second stage win of the 2020 Tour de France on Friday, crossing the line first on a day with no changes in the General Classification as Primoz Roglic and the rest of the top 10 conserved their energy for the time trial that will decide who wins.
Kragh Andersen, 26, launched an attack 16km (10mi) from the finish in Champagnole, pulling away from the 11 other riders who had joined him in a breakaway.
He reached the line 53 seconds ahead of Slovenia’s Luka Mezgec (Mitchelton-Scott) and Belgian rider Jasper Stuyvens (Trek-Segafredo).
The attack destroyed any chance for a sprint finish, all but guaranteeing that Ireland’s Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) will keep the green jersey for best sprinter.
Saturday was the last chance for Slovakian three-time world champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), the green jersey winner all seven times that he has finished the Tour de France, to overtake Bennett.
The Dane rode the last stretch of the 166.5km route from Bourg-en-Bresse as if it were a time trial to complete Stage 19 in 3:36.33, equating to an average speed of 46.1km/h.
“Two wins in the same Tour de France. I’m speechless. I could never have dreamed about something better,” Kragh Andersen said afterward. “For the rest of my life, this is a memory for life, I’m super happy.”
Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) and Slovenian countryman Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates), who trails the yellow jersey by 57 seconds, kept their powder dry ahead of Saturday’s 36km uphill time trial to La Planches-des-Belles-Filles.
The man in third place, Colombia’s Miguel Angel “Superman” Lopez (Astana), is 1:27 behind the leader, and his focus for Stage 20 is likely to be on defending his place on the podium against challenges from Australian rider Richie Porte (Trek) and Spaniards Mikel Landa (Bahrain-McLaren) and Enric Mas (Movistar).
With 12 teams yet to win a stage, Saturday’s ride got off to a frenzied start and French champion Remy Cavagna (Deceuninck) tried his luck on a breakaway.
Bora, still hoping to set up Sagan for the sprint, moved quickly to haul back the Frenchman before Olympic champion Greg van Avermaet made his move and was quickly joined by Bennett, Sagan, Mezgec, Kragh Andersen and Matteo Trentin, among others, in a breakaway that led the peloton by more than 2 minutes as the race entered the final 20km.
“I am feeling good. Today was a good day, and I’m looking forward to tomorrow,” Roglic, winner of the 2019 Vuelta a España, said at the end of Friday’s stage.
“Tomorrow it’s all on me. The team has done an amazing job, I have the (yellow) jersey but we have all worked for it. I’m still relaxed. So far so good. I just have to take it in the moment. I just have to do my job,” he said. EFE soc/dr