Big win for Astana’s Lopez in Tour de France Stage 17
NUR-SULTAN. KAZINFORM – Miguel Angel Lopez took a great solo victory today atop brutal Col de la Loze in Méribel at the finish of the 17th stage of the Tour de France. The leader of Astana Pro Team attacked alone with 2.4 km to the top, dropping all his rivals and gaining important seconds in the general classification of the French Grand tour, Kazinform has learnt from the club’s press service.
In the end of the day Lopez won 15 seconds on the yellow jersey Primoz Roglic and 30 seconds on the white jersey Tadej Pogacar. Thus, in the overall standings of the Tour de France Miguel Angel Lopez moved up to the third place, 1 minute 26 seconds behind Roglic and 29 seconds behind Pogacar.
«I had this stage in my mind, I was focused on it and tried to come to this day in a right form. I knew that this kind of climbs over 2000 meters above sea level would suit me really well. Big and long climbs like Col de la Loze really suit me because it is similar to the climbs I have at home in Colombia. I feel good on the altitude and today I wanted to do something. Together with the team we did a good plan before the stage and we tried to follow it from start to finish. I had a great support of my team during the whole day and also in the final Omar Fraile did an excellent job for me. He was phenomenal today! Coming into the last climb I felt quite well, and my legs worked perfectly. Indeed, it was a super hard climb, but I managed to stay in front in the leading group until the decisive kilometers. I knew this climb very well, because we did a reconnaissance with the team earlier in August, so I knew what to expect and where to try to attack. It was super hard in the final and I had the longest two kilometers of my life, but I continued pushing hard until the finish line. I saw some Colombian fans along the road, they were cheering for me and it also gave me some additional motivation to keep on pushing hard. I am super happy with my win, I was dreaming about it and now I’ve got it. It is so beautiful!» said Miguel Angel Lopez.
«Well, now I am third in the general classification and of course, I would like to continue fighting for the overall until the finish in Paris. We still have three difficult stages ahead of us, every day could be decisive, and we have to keep our concentration on maximum. I will continue going through this race day by day until Paris,» added Miguel Angel Lopez.
«It was our stage and we were waiting for this day all two weeks. We knew that these climbs like today would suit Miguel Angel really well and we were ready to support him today. The team was very strong, and the guys did an amazing job for our leader, firstly on the first half of the stage until the climb and later on the last two climbs. Omar Fraile impressed us a lot, but also Gorka Izagirre spent a great day in the breakaway, protecting team’s interests and providing some help to Miguel Angel just before the decisive part of Col de la Loze. All the team is happy with this beautiful victory and it is also nice to take this win on the birthday of our general manager Alexandr Vinokurov. Great day. But we still have to be focused for 100% because the new hard days are coming. Everything is still open in this Tour de France and we have to keep on fighting day by day to reach our goals,» said Dmitriy Fofonov, sports manager of Astana Pro Team.
Stage 17 of the Tour de France started in Grenoble and after 170 km of racing finished on the top of Col de la Loze in Méribel. The riders passed two hardest climbs: Col de la Madeleine (15.8 km, 8.1%) and the final ascent Col de la Loze (18.6 km, 7.7%).
After some attacks a group of 5 riders went away in a breakaway together with Astana’s Gorka Izagirre. Three riders, Izagirre, Julian Alaphilippe and Richard Carapaz were able to stay in front until the decisive part of the final climb, when the yellow jersey group caught them back.
With 3.5 km to go Miguel Angel Lopez launched his first attack, followed by Primoz Roglic, Sepp Kuss and Tadej Pogacar. After his new attack with 2.4 km to the top the Astana Pro Team rider opened a gap, and no one could close it.
Another hard mountain stage will be held tomorrow: the peloton will do 175 km from Méribel to La-Roche-sur-Foron with 6 categorized climbs on the distance.