Miguel Angel Lopez won stage 17 of the Tour de France on the Col de la Loze, powering away from a select group on the punishingly steep slopes of the ascent to the Méribel ski station to celebrate the stage victory and a new third-place position in the overall standings.
The Astana rider held off a surge from Jumbo-Visma’s Sepp Kuss, who appeared not to notice that the race leader Primoz Roglic was not on his wheel. As the Colombian powered away, Roglic cagily waited until Kuss looked back and waited, leaping across to the American and then jumping away from the only remaining rivals: Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) and Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo), who were unable to respond.
Roglic could not catch Lopez, finishing the stage 15 seconds behind, but importantly taking the time bonus and another 15 seconds on the best young rider and second-placed Pogacar to extend his advantage to a more comfortable 57 seconds.
‘It was a crazy hard here at the end,’ Roglic said. ‘The final three or four kilometres were brutal. You aren’t happy when you come to the top, but I am really happy with it. I didn’t win, but on the other hand, I gained some time in the GC so it was a rather nice day for me.’
When asked if 57 seconds was enough to hold off Pogačar with several difficult stages still to come, the Slovenian said, ‘It’s never enough. When you have five minutes you want 10 and when you have 10 you want more, but it’s better to have 57 advantage than be 57 seconds behind.’
South Africa’s Ryan Gibbons, riding for NTT Pro Cycling, crossed the line in 53rd position on the day, 25min 17sec behind Lopez, with Daryl Impey, riding for Mitchelton-Scott, in 74th, 25:52 behind the stage winner.
Overall, Impey is back inside the top 100 in 98th, with Gibbons improving to 122nd.
The 2019 Tour winner Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) withdrew from the race before the start of the stage.