Miguel Angel Lopez: The 26-year-old Colombian rides himself into third place on General Classification as he becomes the ninth rider on this year’s race to win his first Tour de France stage.
Also rans (and one Uran) Richie Porte, Adam Yates, Mikel Landa and Rigoberto Uran all cross the line.
Miguel Angel Lopez wins the stage!
The Astana rider wins by 11 seconds from Primoz Roglic. Pogacar is third and loses about 18 seconds on Roglic.
200m to go: Pogacar does brilliantly to get back on Roglic’s wheel.
400m to go: Lopez could go second on GC with a stage win today, depending on time bonuses. He’s out of the saddle tackling a gradient of 18%.
500m to go: Lopez kicks on with Roglic behind him. Pogacar is about 10 seconds behind his compatriot.
1km to go: Lopez leads from Roglic with Pogacar in third. All three riders can see each other on the straight and narrow road.
2km to go: Behind Lopez, Primoz Roglic has gone clear of his compatriot Pogacar, his main rival for this year’s Tour de France. Can he win the stage as well?
2km to go: Astana’s Miguel Angel Lopez pulls clear of Sepp Kuss and looks sure to win the stage.
2.5km to go: Sep Kuss pulls clear of the yellow jersey group as Carapaz is caught after another heroic effort. He’s after some bonus seconds, to prevent Tadej Pogacar from getting them.
3km to go: Sepp Kuss takes up the running in the yellow jersey group, with Roglic on his wheel. Pogacar is behind him.
3.6km to go: The yellow jersey group has been whittled down to less than 10 riders, being led by Tadej Pogacar, with Primoz Roglic and his team-mate Sepp Kuss on his wheel. Richie Porte cracks and is dropped.
4km to go: Carapaz holds the gap at 44 seconds with a gradient of over 20% still to tackle. Damiano Caruso has dropped off the yellow jersey group having set up Mikel Landa for an attack. None is forthcoming - the Spaniard’s goose looks cooked.
4.5km to go: Carapaz hits the hardest part of the climb, with some idiot on the side of the very narrow road getting a little too close and waving a flag in his face. On Eurosport, commentator Carlton Kirby is convinced the Ecuadorian can win the stage. On co-comms, Sean Kelly seems certain he won’t.
5km to go: Carapaz powers on with a 40-second lead. He seems to be benefitting from indecision in the group behind him.
6km to go: Interesting. In front, Richard Carapaz has extended his lead to 32 seconds. After his near miss yesterday, a stage win today would be no more than he deserves. It will be an astonishing performance if he can pull it out of the bag. He’s currently on a gradient of over 10%.
6km to go: his work done, Pello Bilbao drops from the front of the yellow jersey group and Damiano Caruso takes over the pace-making duties. Richie Porte and Miguel Angel Lopez are moving through the field, eager to keep tabs on Mikel Landa. The gap remains at 19 seconds.
7km to go: Carapaz ploughs on, the gap at 15 seconds. He won’t even win his second successive combativity award, as that’s gone to Julian Alaphilippe. Jumbo Visma’s Wout van Aert is struggling at the back of the yellow jersey group.
8km to go: Gorka Izagirre has lit the last of his matches, leaving Richard Carapaz on his own in front. His lead is only 19 seconds, which won’t be enough. Pello Bilbao is putting in a mighty shift on the front of the yellow jersey group for Bahrain-McLaren.
9km to go: Richie Porte’s Trek-Segafredo team-mate Kenny Elissonde is dropped.
10km to go: Carapaz and Izagirre pass the 10km To Go banner, just 30 seconds clear of the chasing pack which loses a man as Jumbo-Vizma’s George Bennett is dropped.
10.5km to go: Alaphilippe is now on the back of the yellow jersey group as they take on a hairpin. At the ront, we have three Bahrain-McLaren riders followed by five from Jumbo-Vizma. The gap is 40 seconds.
11km to go: Chapeau to Alaphilippe, who was very entertaining today ... particularly on the day’s big downhill.
12.km to go: And then there were two. Julian Alaphilippe drops out of the lead trio, Carapaz is in front with Izagirre on his wheel. The gap is 47 seconds.
12.5km to go: Mikel Landa takes a bidon from a soigneur on the side of the road. There’s a lot of pressure on him after all the hard work his team-mates have done today. Can he deliver? Judging by some of the faces he’s making you’d have to say the answer is a tentative “no”.
14km to go: Warren Barguil is dropped from the yellow jersey group.
14km to go: The gap is closing slowly but surely and is now 1min 40sec. Bahrain McLaren still have four riders on the front of the yellow jersey group.
16km to go: Spare a thought for B&B Hotels-Vital Concept rider Bryan Coquard, who along with his team-mate Jens Debusschere, is nearly 21 minutes off the pace.
16km to go: The leading trio continue to hold their two-minute lead, while back in the 27-strong yellow jersey group, Adam Yates, Rigoberto Uran, Mikel Landa, Tadej Pogacar, Richie Porte and Primoz Roglic are among the big-hitters who will fancy their chances of a stage win.
17km to go: Carapaz continues to lead the three amigos up the climb. On Eurosport, Sean Kelly explains how physically and psychologically daunting the final two kilometres of this stage are, what with them being ridiculously steep and almost gun-barrel straight. “They’ll be going at a walking pace,” he says.
19km to go: Julian Alaphilippe and Gorka Izagirre exchange words as Richard Carapaz takes over at the front of the leading trio. There are five Bahrain-McLaren riders at the front of the yellow jersey group, with six from Jumbo-Visma happily tucked in behind them taking a tow.
20km to go: Carapaz, Alaphilippe and Izagirre hit a stretch of 10% gradient. The gap is 2min 12sec.
20km to go: They’re on the final ascent, with Bahrain-McLaren continuing to tow the yellow jersey along. The gap is 2min 02sec.
24km to go: The three amigos in front have less than two kilometres to go before they begin the long, steep ascent to the finish.
An email: “The only thing more terrifying to me as a layman is watching the riders go one-handed during a high-speed descent in order to exchange equipment/bottles with a car driving alongside them,” writes Daniel Barnett. “I hope they’re all on drugs; they should be.”
27km to go: The gap is just 2min 22sec as the lead trio head towards the beginning of the final ascent. They haven’t a snowball’s chance in hell of staying in front after the sterling work of Bahrain-McLaren, who are towing the yellow jersey group along in the hope of setting up a stage win for Mikel Landa.
32 km to go: The gap is 2min 33sec as the riders get a breather before tackling the Col de la Loze.
39km to go: Gorka Iazagirre takes over at the front, the three leaders continuing their descent of the Madeleine. They’ll have about 18 kilometres of compartive flat to negotiate before beginning what should be an epic final climb. The gap is 2min 40sec and I’ll be back in a few minutes.
44km to go: The gap from the leading trio to the yellow jersey group is 2min 35sec on the downhill. The gruppetto is a further 10 minutes back.
46km to go: Izagirre, Alaphilippe and Carapaz are back together again, riding as a trio. They’re on a short stretch of flat before another steep downhill.
49km to go: Dan Martin has been left behind on the descent, while Julian Alaphilippe is really going for it. Gorka Izagirre is only about 10 metres behind him.
50km to go: Julian Alaphilippe has put a bit of road between himself and his three riding companions on the descent of the Madeleine. The gap is about 43 seconds.
The gears: “Interesting question re gears,” writes Elis Gomer. “The short answer is ‘much smaller than they would have been even a few years ago’. Pros used 53/39 chainsets and cassettes with the biggest sprocket being a 26 or a 27 until quite recently, even if it was very mountainous - by contrast, I suspect that most will be on a 52/36 chainset and will have anything up to a 30 at the back for a stage like this these days.
“The thing that’s changed most is how little work it now represents to change gears. Back in the days of short-cage rear mechs and smaller cassettes, a rider requesting a larger cassette would require a change of rear mech (to a long-cage one to accommodate the bigger cassette), possibly a change of chainset, and probably an hour or two (at least) of work. Nowadays in the days of electronic gears and long-cage derailleurs being standard, going from a 26 sprocket to a 30 sprocket is as easy as a wheel swap.”
Thanks for the explanation, Elis. I didn’t understand a word of it and have no idea what you’re talking about, but it was nice of you to put so much detail into your answer.
60km to go: The four leaders are descending at a rate of knots, led by Julian Alaphilippe. Behind them, the yellow jersey group is also snaking down a series of hairpins.
61km to go: It’s spitting rain and Tadej Pogacar moves to the front of the yellow jersey group to earn himself some King of the Mountain points.
63km to go: With just over a kilometre to go to the top of the Madeleine, Jumbo-Visma’s riders collect musettes from a soigneur at the side of the road. Ahead of them, Gorka Izagirre is putting on his rain jacket. The gap is 1min 25sec and Richard Carapaz is first to crest the summit of Madeline.
A question: “Any idea what gears these riders are turning on the climbs,” asks Mick O’Connor.
An answer: Nope, none whatsoever. Anyone?
64km to go: The gap drops to just below two minutes as four Bahrain-McLaren lead the yellow jersey group up the climb, with the entire Jumbo-Visma team lined up behind them. In the lead group, Gorka Izagirre is having a chat with somebody in his team car.
65km to go: Lennard Kamna rejoins the yellow jersey group.
66km to go: Matej Mohoric takes over at the front for Bahrain-McLaren in the yellow jersey group. Wout Poels drops to the back of the group but hasn’t been dropped.
“Obviously, we’re not going to just follow,” said Bahrain-McLaren boss Rod Ellingworth warned this morning. “The objective is to make the podium, so we still feel, despite our time loss on Stage 7, that we can still achieve that. So I think there are obviously 3 critical stages now.
“I don’t think it’s just about today, certainly the guys are up for it, and Mikel’s feeling good today. And excited to race. I’m not sure it’ll be the final decisive day, but it’ll certainly mix things up today. We’ve got plans.”
67km to go: Onwards and upwards our leading quartet go, with Gorka Izaguirre riding second wheel having looked in a bit of bother a few minutes ago. The gap to the yellow jersey group is 2min 35sec.
69km to go: Mikel Nieve has abandoned, a state of affairs which means Mitchelton Scott’s Adam Yates has been left without a domestique in the yellow jersey group. Rather remarkably, that’s the first time Nieve has ever abandoned in 19 Grand Tours.
70km to go: Bahrain McLaren rider Wout Poels leads the 33-strong yellow jersey group up the Madeleine. Benoit Cosnefroy has just been dropped.
72km to go: Sonny Colbrelli rides himself to a standstill following a terrific dig at the front of the yellow jersey group and his team-mate Wout Poels takes over. In the polka-dot jersey, Benoit Cosnefroy is just about clinging on to the back of this group.
73km to go: Dan Martin leads the breakaway group up the climb with Julian Alaphilippe on his wheel. Richard Carapaz is on third wheel, while Gorka Izaguirre looks to be struggling. The peloton is 3min 43sec behind.
74km to go: The yellow jersey group is down to about 60 riders and shelling riders at a rate of knots. Sonny Colbrelli is putting in a mighty turn at the front for Bahrain-McLaren. Further up the mountain, yesterday’s stage winner Lennard Kamna has been dropped from the lead group.
75km to go: Bora Hansgrohe rider Max Scachmann is dropped, as are Mitchelton-Scott’s Esteban Chaves, EF Pro Cycling’s Dani Martinez and Groupama-FDJ’s Thibaut Pinot. The gap is down to 3min 39sec.
75km to go: King of the Mountains contender Pierre Rolland has been dropped from the yellow jersey group.
76km to go: The gap between the leading quintet and the peloton is down to 4min 28sec, with the riders from Bahrain-McLaren leading the bunch up the climb. They are, presumably, trying to tee up Mikel Landa for a stage win. Nairo Quintana has been dropped.
79km to go: The leading quintet begin their ascent of the Col de La Madeleine.
84km to go: Gorka Izaguirre drops back to his team car to pick up some snacks and a number of water bottles, a few of which he stuffs down the back of his jersey. The gap is out to six minutes and our leaders are less than five kilometres from the beginning of the 17km climb to the Col de Madeleine.
Another email: “Touché,” writes Ivan Smith.
An email: “All four are Grand Tour stage winners?” writes Ivan Smith. “Their being five of them. Caffeine needed?” Duly noted and corrected. And it’s “there”.
98km to go: The gap is out to 5min 20sec. Your breakaway: Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Richard Carapaz (Ineos), Gorka Izagirre (Astana), Lennard Kamna (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation). All
four five are Grand Tour stage winners.
106km to go: Our five-man breakaway are 4min 38sec clear of a peloton that is content to let them go. Meanwhile in the green jersey classification, Sam Bennett has extended his lead by two points over Peter Sagan and three over Matteo Trentin following that intermediate sprint.
Green jersey standings
- 1. Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quick Step): 278
- 2. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe): 231
- 3. Matteo Trentin (CCC Team): 218
117km to go: Our leading quintet are now just shy of four minutes clear of the peloton, which is about to be rejoined by Daryl Impey. It’s pretty flat until they get to the bottom of the hors categorie monster that is the Col de la Madeleine. I’ll be back in a few minutes, to make sure you don’t miss any of the action when things start going uphill.
122km to go: Bennett is the first of the bunch past the intermediate sprint post and tightens his grip on the green jersey. His team-mate Michael Morkov is next, depriving Peter Sagan of even more points. It’s a two-point swing for Bennett.
124km to go: Julian Alaphilippe leads the breakaway through the intermediate sprint. Impey will be next through, but he’s given up his chase on the leaders, sat up and is going to rejoin the peloton.
126km to go: With Jumbo-Visma patrolling the front of a peloton that seems content to let the breakaway go, the leading quintet have more than doubled their lead to 2min 36sec after Primoz Roglic stopped for a pee and the peloton slowed down to wait for him. Daryl Impey is still caught in no-man’s land between the two groups, one minute behind the leaders.
130km to go: Our five-man breakaway is a minute in front of the peloton, with Daryl Impey on the road between the two groups, about 28seconds behind the lead quintet.
131km to go: Pierre Rolland’s attack comes to nothing but now Daryl Impey from Mitchelton-Scott is attempting to bridge the gap.
136km to go: Level on points at the top of the King of the Mountains classification, Pierre Rolland attacks off the front of the peloton.
140km to go: A group of five riders have opened a lead of 24 seconds over the peloton. They are Richard Carapaz, yesterday’s stage winner Lennard Kamna, Julian Alaphilippe, Dan Martin and Gorka Izaguirre. Several other riders are trying to bridge the gap from the bunch.
142km to go: The riders are currently tackling a fairly tough but unclassified climb. Peter Sagan could try something here with the intermediate sprint looming once they get over this hill. For the time being, Bennett is glued to Sagan’s back wheel. Not literally, I hasten to add. That would impair both their chances.
143km to go: Thomas De Gendt has been caught and another group of riders are attempting to escape the peloton, who are keeping them on a tight rein.
An email: “This makes perfect sense,” writes Chris Hughes of Stefan Kung’s withdrawal. “As not only does the time trial on stage 20 feature a summit finish which rules out the TT specialists, the prestige of winning the World Champs is very high as you get to wear the Rainbow jersey for the entire year in TT’s. Also the course is apparently very flat which suits the specialists.”
Geraint Thomas has also announced he will take place in the time trial at Imola, but will not take part in the World Championship road race, as it’s too close to the beginning of the Giro d’Italia.
151km to go: Thomas De Gendt has attacked off the front of the peloton and opened a gap of 16 seconds.
159km to go: The peloton remains intact, which affords us time to focus on the King of the Mountains contest, which may well be settled today. Despite not winning any points since before the first rest day, Benoit Cosnefroy somehow remains in the polka-dot jersey. He’s level on points with Pierre Rolland (B&B Hotels – Vital Concept), but keeps the iconic shirt because he’s crested more category one climbs. First and second on GC, Primoz Roglic and Tadej Pogacar are also in the mix for King of the Mountains.
More on Stefan Kung’s withdrawal: According to Eurosport, the Swiss rider has simply withdrawn from the race to go and prepare for the World Time Trial championship in Imola later this month.
Somebody who knows more about cycling than me might mail in and let me know why he would do such a thing, when Saturday’s stage 20 is an an individual time trial. Something to do with the fact that it ends on a category one climb, perhaps?
168km to go: Pierre-Luc Perichon (Cofidis), Krists Neilands (Israel Start-up Nation) and Thomas De Gent (Lotto-Soudal) try to get away, but Peter Sagan and Sam Bennett try to close down their attack.
Bennett is currently in the green jersey, with Sagan desperate to win it back. Sagan is unlikely to claw too many points back today as the stage is fairly flat until the intermediate sprint in about 40 kilometres time. The battle for the green jersey is likely to go all the way to Paris, where Bennett will be favourite to win it ... assuming he makes it that far.
They’re racing on stage 17: On a stage with two climbs that last more than an hour each, they’re off and racing. A couple of riders from Israel Start-up Nation and Cofidis attack from the gun. Needless to say, Lotto-Soudal rider and breakaway king Thomas De Gendt is also involved in the early attempt at a breakaway.
More on Stefan Kung’s withdrawal: It seems the Swiss rider finished outside the time limit for yesterday’s stage and his absence today is enforced, rather than voluntary.
Off they go: The 152-strong peloton begins it’s roll-out from Grenoble, in a procession that will last about six kilometres before they’re given the signal to begin racing.
Primoz Roglic on yesterday and today’s stages: “It was a good day for us, again in yellow,” said the race leader. “The start of the stage was very fast and we had to keep our focus on [so the race didn’t get out of control]. There are some big days to come.
The team is doing a really good job so far, so we are ready and looking forward to the final days of the Tour de France. Tomorrow is this year’s queen stage.
“The final climb is the highest point of the route, and its last kilometres are very hard ones, as we have to ride a steep bike path. We’ve reckoned the climb - and I’ve also gone to the other side, the ski jumping hills in Courchevel.
“With 15 days on the legs, the terrain doesn’t matter that much. Flat, uphill - it’s the same. It’s about having the legs, and I hope to have them and do well tomorrow.”
Tadej Pogacar on yesterday and today’s stages: “I tried to steal some seconds [on the final climb], but it was not the best situation,” said the Slovenian, who is second on GC behind his compatriot Primoz Roglic.
“I didn’t have super explosive legs today. Anyway, it was a good warm-up for tomorrow, the queen stage of the race. I think everyone has gone to see the Col de la Loze. In my opinion, this is one of the hardest climbs I’ve ever done.
“You can kill yourself if you try too early - you might suffer all the way to the finish. I will see how the others feel on the way to the Col de la Loze … and, on the final section, we will see who has the legs and who doesn’t.
“There will be gaps and a mix-up on the GC. We see everyone is exhausted, that day by day the legs are getting more and more tired. I hope to have something left on my legs.”
Another withdrawal: Egan Bernal wasn’t the only high profile rider to abandon overnight. Groupama-FDJ breakaway and time trial specialist Stefan Kung has also withdrawn from the race, for reasons that - as yet – remain unclear. That brings the number of withdrawals in this year’s Tour to 24 riders, leaving 152 still in the race.
More on Stage 17 ...
“Both Primoz Roglic and Tadej Pogacar who occupy the first two places of the overall classification spoke about stage 17 as the queen stage of this year’s Tour de France,” report the Tour organisers.
“They’ve recced the unprecedented uphill to Col de la Loze. After the lockdown period, the Jumbo-Visma team made Tignes their permanent training camp, so it wasn’t far for Roglic to go to col de la Loze several times. It’s a fairly new road. It’s actually a ski slope that has been recently asphalted for mountain bikes to go from Méribel to Courchevel and vice versa.
“One year ago, young Australian Alexander Evans, now riding for Circus-Wanty Gobert, won stage 8 of the Tour de l’Avenir from Brides-les-Bains to Méribel/Col de la Loze. It’s extremely steep!
“The last five kilometres promise a fierce battle between Roglic and Pogacar. Stage hunters will have the gruelling climb to col de la Madeleine to make a difference before “the crazy hard finale”, as Roglic described it yesterday after stage 16.”
Egan Bernal withdraws from the Tour
The big news from France today is that reigning champion and Team Ineos Grenadiers rider Egan Bernal has abandoned the Tour. The 23-year-old Colombian had been in contention until losing over seven minutes on Sunday’s stage to the Grand Colombier and lost more time after finishing well down the field yesterday.
He had seemed in good spirits, however, at one point asking a team-mate who was on a fetch-and-carry mission to the team car for drinks to bring him back a mojito.
Bernal had voiced his intention to make it to Paris “out of respect for the race”, but his team announced this morning he would be taking no further part.
“We have taken this decision with Egan’s best interests at heart,” said his sporting director, David Brailsford. “Egan is a true champion who loves to race, but he is also a young rider, with many Tours ahead of him and at this point, on balance, we feel it is wiser for him to stop racing.”
Bernal, who began the race with a back injury that forced him to withdraw from the Critérium du Dauphiné last month, had played down the extent of his injury, but yesterday told reporters his knee was now affected.
“This is obviously not how I wanted my Tour de France to end, but I agree that it is the right decision for me in the circumstances,” he said. “I have the greatest respect for this race and I am already looking forward to coming back in the years ahead.”
Stage 16 recap
Lennard Kämna won the stage, Primoz Roglic stayed in yellow and Ineos team boss David Brailsford claimed his decision to leave Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome out of his Tour de France team was a good one.
The top 10 on General Classification
Primoz Roglic remains in the lead but is finding it difficult to shake off his young Slovenian compatriot Tadej Pogacar.
Stage 17: Grenoble to Méribel col de la Loze (168km)
From William Fotheringhamn’s stage by stage guide: The toughest uphill finish of the race, 2,304m above sea level after 21.5km climbing, with gradients of 20%. The final pecking order should be all but settled here. The initial sort-out will come on the super-category Col de la Madeleine
, and the finish has Bernal written all over it . [Narrator’s voice: “Not any more, it doesn’t - first Mollema, now Bernal - the curse of Fotheringham strikes for the second consecutive day.”]
- Today’s roll-out is at 11.15am (BST)