Lopez secures gruelling stage victory

17 September 2020 02:29:47 GMTPlus10

Astana's Miguel Angel Lopez has won stage 17 of the 2020 Tour de France to move up to third in the General Classification standings.

The Colombian rider emerged the strongest on what was a gruelling 170km mountain stage at altitude from Grenoble to Meribel that included a huge climb up the Col de la Loze.

The 26-year-old finished 15 seconds clear of yellow jersey holder Primoz Roglic, who has now extended his lead at the top of the General Classification standings to 57 seconds, with his nearest rival and fellow Slovenian Tadej Pogacar coming in third on stage 17.

Lopez completes the podium positions and he is now one minute and 26 seconds off the lead, which means the South American is well placed to match his podium finishes at both the 2018 Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a Espana in the same year.

Roglic remains the man to beat, however, and he is priced at 101.00 to win the Tour de France for the first time.

The Team Jumbo-Visma rider was assisted by team-mate Sepp Kuss during Wednesday's stage and the American felt their strategy paid off.

"We wanted to try a different strategy with me going up the road and forcing the others to chase," Kuss told ITV4.

"I accelerated a bit and when I looked back nobody was on my wheel apart from Lopez. It was a super-hard effort so I backed off and helped Primoz [Roglic]."

There will certainly be a new winner of this year's race after defending champion Egan Bernal pulled out ahead of the stage 17, with the Ineos Grenadiers rider admitting it was the right call to withdraw.

Stage 18 will take place on Thursday and it will be the final mountain stage of this year's Tour, with the 175km run going from Meribel to La Roche-sur-Foron.

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