Col de la Loze, France, Sep 16 (efe-epa).- Colombia’s Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) spread his wings Wednesday on the daunting climb of the Col de la Loze, winning Stage 17 of the Tour de France as overall leader Primoz Roglic increased his advantage.
“Superman” Lopez, 26, riding in his first Tour, went on the attack 3km (1.9mi) from the summit and reached the line 15 seconds ahead of Roglic (Jumbo Visma).
Roglic’s Slovene compatriot, Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates), was third, 30 seconds behind the Colombian.
Lopez vaulted to third in the General Classification, 1:26 off the pace of Roglic, who expanded his edge over the second-place Pogacar to 57 seconds.
Superman’s rise displaced countryman Rigoberto Uran, who dropped to sixth in the GC after reaching the line nearly 2 minutes behind Lopez.
Australian rider Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) was fifth on the stage and moved up to fourth in GC, just ahead of Briton Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott).
Rounding out the top 10 in GC are Spaniards Mikel Landa (Bahrain McLaren) and Enric Mas (Movistar), Dutchman Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma) and 40-year-old Spanish veteran Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), the oldest competitor in the 2020 Tour de France.
Lopez’s first stage win came on the Tour’s first visit to the Col de la Loze, a 2,304m (7,559ft) high mountain pass in the French Alps.
The 170km stage began in Grenoble without last year’s Tour de France winner, Colombia’s Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadier), who withdrew after falling out of contention on Tuesday as he struggled to overcome a back injury.
Minutes out of Grenoble, 21 riders mounted a breakaway, but the first climb whittled the group down to five: Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quickstep); Ecuador’s Richard Carapaz (Ineos); Irishman Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation); Germany’s Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe); and Gorka Izagirre (Astana) of Spain.
Kämna, the Stage 16 winner, fell behind on the ascent of Col de la Madeleine, before Martin was absorbed by the yellow jersey chase group.
Carapaz, the first Ecuadorian to ride the Tour, eventually found himself alone, yet was unable to resist when US rider Sepp Kuss (Jumbo Visma) emerged from the yellow jersey group to set up the ascent for his teammate in the yellow jersey.
But in the process of clearing a path for Roglic, Kuss created an opening for Lopez and Superman pounced.
“I’m really happy and very emotional. We worked really hard for this and it wasn’t easy to get there. I’m emotional,” Lopez said after winning the stage.
“We were confident because we knew the terrain suited us. It was over 2,000 meters of altitude, like being at home (Colombia) and so it was an opportunity for me, so we fought for this stage,” he said.
The Tour will remain in the Alps on Thursday, with five climbs culminating in the beyond-category Montee du Plateau des Glieres. EFE