Primoz Roglic handed out a tap to his closest competitor Tadej Pogacar. The leader of Jumbo-Visma unleashed his young compatriot in the last few hundred metres of the heavy Col de la Loze and increased his lead in the general classification to 57 seconds.
The victory in the queen stage went to Tourdebutant Miguel Ángel López. It is López first stage victory in the Tour de France. In the Vuelta of 2017 he already took two stages.
Its a very special day, it moves me, López said after the finish. I am upside down Thanks to the stage win López has climbed to third place in the general classification.
Watch Lópezs reaction here:
López, fourth in the general classification prior to this stage, has already proved to be a good rider in the Giro and the Vuelta. In 2018 he finished on the podium in both the Tour of Italy and the Tour of Spain, finishing third in both big tours.
For the first time in six years the peloton started without a former Tour winner. Egan Bernal, last years winner, had decided not to step up for the seventeenth stage.
The Colombian rode a disappointing Tour de France, partly caused by back problems. On the Grand Colombier the 23-year-old Bernal was already sinking through the ice and yesterday his gap to the rider Roglic only increased further.
Stefan Küng didnt get on his bike either. The Swiss time trial specialist has decided to focus on the World Cup, which will be held from 24 to 27 September in the Italian town of Imola. As reigning European time trial champion, Küng is one of the favourites for the world title.
Lennard Kämna still had some energy left after his stage victory yesterday and decided to march again. The young German again got Richard Carapaz and Julian Alaphilippe. Gorka Izagirre and Dan Martin also joined in. The quintet got a maximum of six minutes lead from the peloton.
With 79 kilometres to go, the Col de la Madeleine loomed up. Kämna was too powerful. The Bora-rider had to let go of his fellow fugitives.
In the group with favourites, Nairo Quintana, the number ten of the general classification, had to leave quickly. Moments later Pierre Rolland, who was in the attack yesterday, Esteban Chaves and Maximilian Schachmann followed.
While one climber after the other had to unload, Wout Poels was in front of the peloton. The Limburger, who on the opening day of this Tour suffered a tear in a rib and bruised lungs, looked very strong on the Madeleine.
Behind the leading group, Pogacar threw out another sprint uphill. This gave him eight mountain points, passing Benoît Cosnefroy, who has been riding in the ball jersey since the third stage. Because Pogacar also picked up some points on the final climb, he can wear the polka dot jersey tomorrow.
Carapaz, Alaphilippe and Izagirre started with a two-minute lead at the giant Col de la Loze, which was included in the Tour de France route for the first time. The riders climbed to 2,304 metres, the roof of the Tour. At the top there were double mountain points.
Carapaz was the only one left of the leading group and stayed ahead of the group with Roglic. It was only three kilometres before the finish that the Ecuadorian rider was caught by the group of favourites that had already shrunk considerably.
At that time Roglic only had Sepp Kuss with him as a helper. When the American wanted to speed things up, to everyones surprise he drove the rest of the group loose. His teammate Roglic also had to fit in. López counterattacked and came on top.
In hindsight Kusss departure turned out to be a preconceived plan. The intention was to force the others into the chase, but I couldnt keep up with Lópezs pace. So then I decided to lower myself again, so I could do some head work for Roglic
Watch Kusss reaction here:
In the group behind the Astana leader, young Pogacar couldnt keep the wheel of his compatriot and leader in the general classification Roglic and lost precious seconds in the battle for the yellow jersey.
López was unable to catch up with Roglic and crossed the line as the winner.