Tour de France: Primoz Roglic keeps lead as Michal Kwiatkowski wins stage 18

Michal Kwiatkowski (right) and Richard Carapaz (left) embrace as Ineos take a one-two on stage 18 of the 2020 Tour de France
Michal Kwiatkowski (right) had never won an individual Grand Tour stage before

Michal Kwiatkowski led a superb Ineos Grenadiers one-two on stage 18 to help salvage their Tour de France as Primoz Roglic took a step closer to the title.

Poland’s Kwiatkowski and team-mate Richard Carapaz crossed the line arm-in-arm after riding away from the rest of the field on a tough mountain stage.

Roglic and his Jumbo-Visma team held off any attacks as he maintained his 57-second lead with three stages to go.

Britain’s Adam Yates slipped from fifth to seventh overall.

Former world champion Kwiatkowki’s first ever individual Grand Tour stage victory capped a strong showing by Ineos since defending champion Egan Bernal dropped out of contention, before abandoning after stage 16.

The British team have been active in the breakaways, with Carapaz coming close on both stage 16 and 17, before Kwiatkowski secured their first win of the 2020 Tour.

“That was some day – I can’t describe how grateful I am to the whole team and Richard. I will never forget that,” said Kwiatkowski.

“I’ve had some nice moments in cycling but that was something new. I had goosebumps for the final kilometres because I knew we were going to make it. It was incredible.”

Ineos salvage their Tour

Despite a very successful career that includes victories in Milan-San Remo, the Amstel Gold Race and Strade Bianche twice, a Grand Tour stage win had eluded Kwiatkowski, with the 30-year-old having been a crucial support rider to Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas and Bernal since joining Team Sky in 2016.

He and Carapaz had a lead of four minutes heading into the final 10km, leaving them plenty of time to celebrate and decide who would take the win in La Roche-sur-Foron, with Carapaz just squeezing his brake at the last moment to ensure Kwiatkowski got it.

Carapaz had gone clear with Marc Hirschi over the first climb of the day as they battled for mountains classification points before Kwiatkowski, Pello Bilbao and Nicolas Edet joined them on the second climb.

Edet slipped back and Hirschi crashed, before remounting, descending the Col des Saisies, before the Ineos duo dropped Bilbao.

Last year’s Giro d’Italia champion Carapaz also took the polka dot jersey as leader of the mountains classification from Tadej Pogacar, who remains second overall on general classification.

The Ecuadorian leads Pogacar by eight points in that competition, with 12 points maximum left on offer.

Roglic nearly there

As the final mountain stage, this was the last realistic opportunity for any of Roglic’s rivals to take back considerable time on the Slovenian, but he came through unscathed.

Friday’s stage 19 should see the GC contenders finish together and Sunday’s final stage is a procession into Paris where tradition dictates the race leader is not attacked.

Saturday’s individual mountain time trial culminates in a climb up La Planche des Belles Filles but, as an impressive time trialist and climber, Roglic will be confident he already has enough of a lead.

Again Roglic was well supported, with Pogacar unable to launch an attack on the final climb up the punishing Plateau des Glieres before the compatriots sprinted to fourth and fifth respectively after Roglic’s team-mate Wout van Aert had neutralised the four bonus seconds for third.

Mikel Landa briefly went clear as his Bahrain McLaren team again set a high pace but with more success than on stage 17 as they dropped Rigoberto Uran and Yates, who finished over two minutes down, allowing Landa to move up to fifth overall.

Richie Porte suffered a puncture on a gravel section after the top of the Glieres but managed to chase back on to keep hold of fourth overall.

Stage 18 result

1. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol/Ineos Grenadiers) 4hrs 47mins 33secs

2. Richard Carapaz (Ecu/Ineos Grenadiers) Same time

3. Wout van Aert (Bel/Jumbo-Visma) +1min 51secs

4. Primoz Roglic (Slo/Jumbo-Visma) +1min 53secs

5. Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE Team Emirates) Same time

6. Richie Porte (Aus/Trek-Segafredo) +1min 54secs

7. Enric Mas (Spa/Movistar) Same time

8. Mikel Landa (Spa/Bahrain McLaren)

9. Damiano Caruso (Ita/Bahrain McLaren)

10. Tom Dumoulin (Ned/Jumbo-Visma)

General classification after stage 18

1. Primoz Roglic (Slo/Jumbo-Visma) 79hrs 45mins 30secs

2. Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE Team Emirates) +57secs

3. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col/Astana) +1mins 27secs

4. Richie Porte (Aus/Trek-Segafredo) +3mins 06secs

5. Mikel Landa (Spa/Bahrain McLaren) +3mins 28secs

6. Enric Mas (Spa/Movistar) +4mins 19secs

7. Adam Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott) +5mins 55secs

8. Rigoberto Uran (Col/EF Pro Cycling) +6mins 05secs

9. Tom Dumoulin (Ned/Jumbo-Visma) +7mins 24secs

10. Alejandro Valverde (Spa/Movistar) +12mins 12secs

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Tour de France stage 17: Miguel Angel Lopez wins, Primoz Roglic stretches lead

Miguel Angel Lopez
Miguel Angel Lopez first Tour de France stage win lifts him into a podium position

Miguel Angel Lopez won stage 17 of the Tour de France as Primoz Roglic extended his lead in the race.

Astana’s Lopez pulled clear of the other general classification contenders on the final climb of the day, beating Roglic into second by 15 seconds.

The stage victory took Lopez into third overall, while Roglic moved almost a minute clear as his fellow Slovenian Tadej Pogacar came home third.

Rigoberto Uran, who went into the stage in third, was almost two minutes back.

Wednesday’s stage had begun without defending champion Egan Bernal, with the Ineos Grenadiers rider announcing his withdrawal after struggling through stages 15 and 16.

However, his compatriot Lopez produced a superb ride to accelerate away from Sepp Kuss on the Col de la Loze, which is the third-highest finish location of a Tour de France stage.

The Colombian, who is riding in his first Tour de France, is now one minute and 26 seconds down on Roglic in the race for the yellow jersey.

“I’m very emotional because of the work done at home with my family, my wife, my son. I dedicate this victory to them,” Lopez said.

“We were confident. I was on my terrain. At 2,000 metres of altitude, I feel like at home.”

Richard Carapaz had looked as though he may cling on for Ineos’ first stage win at the Tour after being part of a five-man break that went clear as the peloton splintered on the Col de la Madeleine.

But the Giro d’Italia champion was reeled in with under 3km left on the final climb after going solo with 9km remaining.

Roglic and Pogacar’s battle for yellow

While Lopez was riding to his first Tour stage win, all eyes were on the race behind as Roglic and Pogacar went toe-to-toe on sections of the climb that reared up to a gradient of 24%.

And while Pogcar ended the day leading the King of the Mountains competition, he could not match his fellow Slovenian when it mattered.

Roglic eased his way back to the wheel of Jumbo-Visma team-mate Kuss before distancing the UAE Team Emirates rider in the final 2km.

“I don’t think the job is done,” said Roglic. “There are still some hard stages to come and Tadej Pogacar is a great climber. I felt really good on the climb, but you can’t compare these last four to five kilometres to anything else.

“I’m glad this stage is behind us. I was happy with the position I was in before the stage, and now I’m even happier.”

Britain’s Adam Yates was dropped about 4km from the summit but remains in fifth place overall behind Australia’s Richie Porte in fourth.

“Tough day, but I hung in there as long as I could so we can be happy with that,” said the Mitchelton-Scott rider.

“We’ve got a big stage tomorrow, a lot of altitude metres, and then all we’ve got after that is the time trial, one day all by myself, so we’ll keep going. Hopefully tomorrow I’ve got good legs and we’ll keep trying.”

Stage 18 on Thursday sees the riders tackle another 4,000m of climbing on the 168km mountain stage from Meribel to La Roche-sur-Foron.

Stage 17 results

1. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col/Astana) 4hrs 49mins 08secs

2. Primoz Roglic (Slo/Jumbo-Visma) +15secs

3. Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE Team Emirates) +30secs

4. Sepp Kuss (US/Jumbo-Visma) +56secs

5. Richie Porte (Aus/Trek-Segafredo) +1mins 01secs

6. Enric Mas (Spa/Movistar) +1mins 12secs

7. Mikel Landa (Spa/Bahrain McLaren) +1mins 20secs

8. Adam Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott) Same time

9. Rigoberto Uran (Col/EF Pro Cycling) 1mins 59 secs

10. Tom Dumoulin (Ned/Jumbo-Visma) +2mins 13secs

General classification after stage 17

1. Primoz Roglic (Slo/Jumbo-Visma) 74hrs 56mins 04secs

2. Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE Team Emirates) +57secs

3. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col/Astana) +1mins 26secs

4. Richie Porte (Aus/Trek-Segafredo) +3mins 05secs

5. Adam Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott) +3mins 14secs

6. Rigoberto Uran (Col/EF Pro Cycling) +3mins 24secs

7. Mikel Landa (Spa/Bahrain McLaren) +3mins 27secs

8. Enric Mas (Spa/Movistar) +4mins 18secs

9. Tom Dumoulin (Ned/Jumbo-Visma) +7mins 23secs

10. Alejandro Valverde (Spa/Movistar) +9mins 31secs

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Tour de France: Lennard Kamna wins stage 16 as Primoz Roglic retains overall lead

Lennard Kamna
Lennard Kamna finished one minute 27 seconds clear of his closest challenger

German Lennard Kamna produced a superb solo break to power to victory on stage 16 of the Tour de France as Primoz Roglic maintained the overall lead.

The Bora-Hansgrohe rider, 24, pulled away on the penultimate climb of the 164km stage from La Tour-du-Pin to Villard-de-Lans to claim his first career Grand Tour win.

Roglic finished 17 minutes later in a group of the main contenders.

He leads fellow Slovenian Tadej Pogacar by 40 seconds.

Kamna, whose victory also marked his team’s first success at the Tour, finished one minute and 27 seconds ahead of Ecuador’s Richard Carapaz in second, while Swiss Sebastien Reichenbach took third place.

“I’m feeling great,” said Kamna. “It’s an absolutely awesome day for me now.

“It was a fight from the beginning on and I knew I had to make it to the finish alone. When I saw Carapaz upping the speed I thought, ‘now is the moment to go’ – and I just went all in to the end.

“It’s a big, big, big relief for the team and for me. I can almost not imagine it. The step I made this year is huge and I’m so pleased to win.”

Stage 16 result

1. Lennard Kamna (Ger/Bora-Hansgrohe) 4hrs 12mins 52secs

2. Richard Carapaz (Ecu/Ineos Grenadiers) +1mins 27secs

3. Sebastien Reichenbach (Swi/Groupama-FDJ) +1mins 56secs

4. Pavel Sivakov (Rus/Ineos Grenadiers) +2mins 34secs

5. Simon Geschke (Ger/CCC) +2mins 35secs

6. Warren Barguil (Fra/Arkea Samsic) +2mins 37secs

7. Tiesj Benoot (Bel/Sunweb) +2mins 41secs

8. Nicolas Roche (Ire/Sun) +2mins 47secs

9. Qunetin Pacher (Fra/BB Hotels-Vital Concept) +2mins 51 secs

10. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra/Deceuninck-Quick-Step +2mins 54 secs

General classification after stage 16

1. Primoz Roglic (Slo/Jumbo-Visma) 70hrs 6mins 47secs

2. Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE Team Emirates) +40secs

3. Rigoberto Uran (Col/EF Pro Cycling) +1mins 34secs

4. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col/Astana) +1mins 45secs

5. Adam Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott) +2mins 03secs

6. Richie Porte (Aus/Trek-Segafredo) +2mins 13secs

7. Mikel Landa (Spa/Bahrain McLaren) +2mins 16secs

8. Enric Mas (Spa/Movistar) +3mins 15secs

9. Tom Dumoulin (Ned/Jumbo-Visma) +5mins 19secs

10. Nairo Quintana (Col/Arkea-Samsic) +5mins 43secs

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Tour de France stage guide: Adam Yates profiles 2020 race stages

Adam Yates riding at the 2019 Tour de France
Adam Yates’ best Tour finish is fourth in 2016, when he won the best young rider jersey

This year’s rescheduled Tour de France started in Nice on 29 August and finishes in Paris on Sunday, 20 September.

The riders are tackling a particularly tough course, with plenty of unique touches, as they race 3,470km around France.

Britain’s Adam Yates is targeting stage wins over general classification in his fifth Tour and has given BBC Sport his insight into each of the stages.

This page will be updated throughout the Tour – listing the winner and providing a brief report after each stage has been completed.

Saturday, 29 August – stage one: Nice – Nice, 156km

Alexander Kristoff wins the opening stage
Alexander Kristoff secured the yellow jersey with a superb sprint finish

Winner: Alexander Kristoff (Nor/UAE-Team Emirates)

Report: Kristoff wins first stage as several riders crash in rain

Alexander Kristoff timed his sprint finish to perfection to win the opening stage, with Mads Pedersen second and Cees Bol third. There were several crashes on wet roads, but Team Ineos’ defending champion Egan Bernal largely avoided the trouble and finished safely in the peloton.

Sunday, 30 August – stage two: Nice – Nice, 186km

Julian Alaphilippe
Julian Alaphilippe was the fastest finisher from the late attackers as the peloton closed quickly but ultimately too late

Winner: Julian Alaphilippe (Fra/Deceuninck-Quick-Step)

Report: Alaphilippe rides into yellow with Yates second overall

Our Tour guide Adam Yeats was in with a shout of winning stage two after launching a late attack alongside Julian Alaphilippe and Swiss youngster Marc Hirschi.

In the end he did not have the legs in the final sprint, but his third place in Nice was enough to put him into second overall, four seconds behind effervescent Frenchman Alaphilippe.

Monday, 31 August – stage three: Nice – Sisteron, 198km

Australia's Caleb Ewan (right) puts his arms up in celebration after beating Ireland's Sam Bennett (left) in a bunch sprint on stage three of the 2020 Tour de France
Caleb Ewan has won stages in all three Grand Tours

Winner: Caleb Ewan (Aus/Lotto Soudal)

Report: Ewan sprints to dazzling victory

As Adam Yates suggested it would be, this was indeed a sprint finish, and one taken in spectacular fashion by Aussie speedster Caleb Ewan.

After Peter Sagan had led out from distance it looked like Irishman Sam Bennett was set for victory, but Lotto Soudal’s Ewan came from deep, squeezed past a fading Sagan on the barriers and swooped around Bennett to win in sensational style.

Tuesday, 1 September – stage four: Sisteron – Orcieres-Merlette, 160.5km

Primoz Roglic (centre) celebrates with his Jumbo-Visma team-mates after winning stage four of the 2020 Tour de France
Primoz Roglic secured his third Tour stage win on the 2020 edition’s first summit finish

Primoz Roglic made a statement of intent with victory on the first summit finish of this year’s race. The Slovenian’s Jumbo-Visma team set the pace on the final climb before Roglic countered a late attack by Guillaume Martin to claim his third Tour stage win.

Despite Roglic’s show of strength, most of the contenders did not lose any time, with Julian Alaphilippe retaining the yellow jersey and Adam Yates remaining second overall.

Winner: Primoz Roglic (Slo/Jumbo-Visma)

Report: Roglic shows impressive form in summit finish win

Wednesday, 2 September – stage five: Gap – Privas, 183km

Adam Yates leaves the podium in the yellow jersey after stage five of the 2020 Tour de France
Adam Yates is the ninth different British rider to wear the yellow jersey

Our guide Adam Yates claimed the yellow jersey for the first time in his career in strange circumstances after Julian Alaphilippe was docked 20 seconds for taking a bottle off a team support member inside the final 20km of the stage.

It had been a quiet day until the finale, with unusually no breakaway forming, before Belgium’s Wout van Aert underlined his all-round talents by beating the best sprinters in the race. Ireland’s Sam Bennett finished third to take the green jersey off Peter Sagan.

Winner: Wout van Aert (Bel/Jumbo-Visma)

Report: Yates takes yellow after Alaphilippe penalised

Thursday, 3 September – stage six: Le Teil – Mont Aigoual, 191km

Alexey Lutsenko raises his arms in celebration after winning stage six of the 2020 Tour de France
Alexey Lutsenko’s only previous Grand Tour stage win came at the 2017 Vuelta a Espana

A strong eight-man group established a healthy lead early on before Kazakh champion Alexey Lutsenko steadily dropped the rest of his breakaway partners. The Astana rider rode the last 17km alone to take an impressive first Tour stage win.

Adam Yates comfortably retained the yellow jersey, with none of the contenders mounting any attacks, although Julian Alaphilippe sprinted late on to grab one second back.

Winner: Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz/Astana)

Report: Lutsenko wins first Tour stage as Yates stays in yellow

Friday, 4 September – stage seven: Millau – Lavaur, 168km

Wout van Aert wins stage seven of the Tour de France
Wout van Aert, a three-time world cyclo-cross world champion, continues to impress on the road in France

Crosswinds played their part as Wout van Aert claimed his second stage win of the race in a reduced bunch sprint finish. Britain’s Adam Yates managed to keep in the leading group but several of his general classification rivals missed out with Tadej Pogacar and Mikel Landa both losing more than a minute.

Winner: Wout van Aert (Bel/Jumbo-Visma)

Report: Yates keeps yellow as Van Aert continues to impress

Saturday, 5 September – stage eight: Cazeres-sur-Garonne – Loudenvielle, 141km

Nans Peters
Nans Peters won his first stage on a Grand Tour at the Giro d’Italia in 2019

Britain’s Adam Yates retained the Tour de France leader’s yellow jersey as Nans Peters rode to a superb solo win on stage eight. A tough day of climbing saw Yates respond to several attacks on the final climb on the Col de Peyresourde to maintain his advantage. France’s Peters led home the survivors of a 13-man breakaway to record a memorable win in the Pyrenees.

Winner: Nans Peters (Fra/AG2R-La Mondiale)

Report: Yates defends Tour de France lead after tough mountain stage

Sunday, 6 September – stage nine: Pau – Laruns, 153km

Tadej Pogacar
Tadej Pogacar is the youngest stage winner at the Tour in the 21st Century

Britain’s Adam Yates lost the leader’s yellow jersey to Primoz Roglic as Tadej Pogacar won the stage. Yates was dropped on the final climb, while Pogacar edged fellow Slovenian Roglic in a sprint to the line.

Winner: Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE-Team Emirates)

Report: Yates loses yellow jersey to Roglic

Monday, 7 September – rest day: Carente-Maritime

Tuesday, 8 September – stage 10: Ile d’Oleron – Ile de Re, 168.5km

Ireland's Sam Bennett celebrates winning stage 10 of the 2020 Tour De France
Sam Bennett has now won stages in all three Grand Tours

Ireland’s Sam Bennett sprinted to his first Tour de France stage victory by holding off Caleb Ewan and Peter Sagan after a stressful day that saw several crashes. Victory also moved Bennett, who Adam Yates picked for the stage win, back into the green jersey as leader of the points classification ahead of Sagan. Primoz Roglic avoided trouble to retain the yellow jersey.

Winner: Sam Bennett (Ire/Deceuninck-Quick-Step)

Report: Bennett claims first Tour stage win

Wednesday, 9 September – stage 11: Chatelaillon-Plage – Poitiers, 167.5km

A photo finish shows Caleb Ewan narrowly beating Sam Bennett, Wout van Aert and Peter Sagan on stage 11 of the 2020 Tour de France
Caleb Ewan claimed the tightest sprint finish of the race so far

Caleb Ewan claimed his second win of this year’s Tour and fifth overall by edging out his rivals in a thrilling sprint. The Australian threw his bike just ahead of Peter Sagan, who was subsequently relegated to last and docked 13 points by the race jury for colliding with Wout van Aert. Sam Bennett was promoted to second, giving the Irishman a 68-point lead over Sagan in the green jersey points classification.

Winner: Caleb Ewan (Aus/Lotto Soudal)

Report: Ewan wins thrilling sprint as Bennett tightens grip on green

Thursday, 10 September – stage 12: Chauvigny – Sarran, 218km

Marc Hirschi
Marc Hirschi claimed his first professional win on stage 12 after twice being on the podium earlier in the Tour

Marc Hirschi produced a superb solo break to record his first professional win. The Swiss rider went clear with 28km remaining of the 218km stage – the longest in this year’s Tour – to win by 47 seconds on an uneventful day in the general classification.

Winner: Marc Hirschi (Swi/Sunweb)

Report: Hirschi wins his first Tour stage

Friday, 11 September – stage 13: Chatel-Guyon – Puy Mary, 191.5km

Daniel Martinez holds his hands up in celebration after winning stage 13 of the 2020 Tour de France
Daniel Martinez won the 2020 Criterium du Dauphine

Primoz Roglic tightened his hold on the yellow jersey after he and fellow Slovenian Tadej Pogacar dropped all of their rivals on a gruelling final climb to Puy Mary. Defending champion Egan Bernal struggled and slipped to third overall, with Roglic now leading Pogacar by 44 seconds.

Colombian Daniel Martinez proved the strongest rider from a 17-man breakaway, reeling in Max Schachmann before punching clear of Lennard Kamna in the final metres to claim a superb maiden Tour stage win.

Winner: Daniel Martinez (Col/EF Pro Cycling)

Report: Roglic extends lead as Martinez claims maiden stage win

Saturday, 12 September – stage 14: Clermont-Ferrand – Lyon, 194km

Soren Kragh Andersen smiles after winning stage 14
Soren Kragh Andersen secured Sunweb’s second win in three days

Denmark’s Soren Kragh Andersen attacked with three kilometres to go in a frantic finale to take a surprise win and cap a sublime tactical ride by Team Sunweb. Peter Sagan’s Bora-Hansgrohe team dropped Sam Bennett on the second climb and Sagan finished fourth, cutting Bennett’s green jersey lead to 43 points. Primoz Roglic maintained his 44-second lead in the yellow jersey.

Winner: Soren Kragh Andersen (Den/Team Sunweb)

Report: Andersen attacks late to take stage win

Sunday, 13 September – stage 15: Lyon – Grand Colombier, 174.5km

Tadej Pogacar (right) beats Primoz Roglic (left) to win stage 15 of the 2020 Tour de France
Tadej Pogacar beat Primoz Roglic in a repeat of the Slovenian one-two on stage nine

Tadej Pogacar claimed his second stage win of this year’s Tour to slightly cut into Primoz Roglic’s lead. Pogacar kicked clear late on to win atop Grand Colombier and now trails his fellow Slovenian by 40 seconds.

It was another strong showing by Roglic and his Jumbo-Visma team, who set such a high pace on the final climb that they dropped defending champion Egan Bernal. The Ineos Grenadiers rider lost over seven minutes to tumble from third to 13th, while Adam Yates moved up to fifth overall.

Winner: Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE Team Emirates)

Report: Pogacar wins from Roglic as Bernal drops out of contention

Monday, 14 September- rest day: Isere

My rest day routines stay pretty similar – take it easy as much as possible. We normally have a brief meeting with the sport directors on a rest day, but most of the details are saved for the meetings prior to each stage.

Tuesday, 15 September – stage 16: La Tour-du-Pin – Villard-de-Lans, 164km

The route profile of stage 16 of the Tour de France
Villard-de-Lans was popular during Tours in the 1980s and 1990s, with Pedro Delgado going a long way to ensuring victory in the 1988 race by winning here

This is a really good day for the breakaway because the category one climb has quite a long valley after it – so I don’t see the general classification riders testing each other on this stage; instead, I see them thinking more about the last two hard days to come.

Rider to watch: Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa/Astana)

Wednesday, 16 September – stage 17: Grenoble – Meribel, 170km

The route profile of stage 17 of the Tour de France
The yellow jersey was introduced during the 1919 Tour and first worn by Eugene Christophe after a stage that finished in Grenoble

There are two long climbs in the second half of the race, but the Col de la Loze is particularly brutal, with the new part basically a bike path, linking two ski resorts. This has a big potential to be battled out by the general classification riders and it’s a good climb for Colombians with a finish at 2,304km.

Rider to watch: Miguel Angel Lopez (Col/Astana)

Thursday, 17 September – stage 18: Meribel to La Roche-sur-Foron, 175km

The route profile of stage 18 of the Tour de France
La Roche-sur-Foron is more known for skiing but hosted the start of a Dauphine Libere stage in 1988

It probably will be a day for the break, but it would have to be a very strong breakaway, made up of climbers outside of the general classification battle. The Montee du plateau des Glieres is too far from the finish – with 30km still to go for the GC guys – to try to attack each other for time today.

Rider to watch: Warren Barguil (Fra/Arkea-Samsic)

Friday, 18 September – stage 19: Bourg-en-Bresse – Champagnole, 166.5km

The route profile of stage 19 of the Tour de France
Bourg-en-Bresse has often suited sprinters when used as a stage finish, with Thor Hushovd winning there in 2002 and Tom Boonen doing so in 2007

The general classification riders would definitely be hoping for an easier day before the time trial. But this one could be harder than the profile looks – a lot of riders will looking for their chance to take a stage. If some sprinters don’t make it, this can change a lot as it’s one fewer team to control. With stage 21 always a bunch sprint, it’s the last chance for most of the bunch to look for a win.

Rider to watch: Luka Mezgec (Slo/Mitchelton-Scott)

Saturday, 19 September – stage 20: Lure – La Planche des Belles Filles, 36.2km (time trial)

The route profile of stage 20 of the Tour de France
Chris Froome made his first big impression at the Tour on La Plance des Belles Filles by claiming stage seven of the 2012 race, which team-mate Bradley Wiggins went on to win

It’s not a surprise that I’d prefer a time trial with climbing metres. While the time triallists will always be strong, you also have to take into account that there have been 19 days of racing – so there are a few other factors to take into account. For instance, if you’re out of the general classification running and are not a time trial specialist, you’re not likely to push hard on this stage, especially with the World Championships next week. Watch out to see if anyone does a bike change – the jury is still out for me.

Rider to watch: Primoz Roglic (Slo/Jumbo-Visma)

Sunday, 20 September – stage 21: Mantes-la-Jolie to Paris, 122km

The route profile of stage 21 of the Tour de France
Caleb Ewan, Andre Greipel and Alexander Kristoff are the three former winners on the Champs-Elysees riding this year’s Tour

Getting to the Champs Elysees is satisfying and special, no matter what the route; the Tour de France is always hard. There’s a chance we could be a sprinter or two short by the last day, but regardless of that, there’s no shortage of people to put their hand up to win that coveted sprint.

Rider to watch: Wout van Aert (Bel/Jumbo-Visma)

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Tour de France: Tadej Pogacar wins stage 15 in sprint finish with overall leader Primoz Roglic

Primoz Roglic (left) and Tadej Pogacar (right) finish stage 15 of the Tour de France
Primoz Roglic and Tadej Pogacar again showed they are the two strongest riders in the race

Tadej Pogacar won stage 15 of the Tour de France to slightly cut Primoz Roglic’s lead as defending champion Egan Bernal dropped out of contention.

Pogacar beat yellow jersey Roglic in a sprint to the line and now trails his fellow Slovenian by 40 seconds.

Bernal cracked badly on the final climb to Grand Colombier and lost over seven minutes to slip from third to 13th overall.

Britain’s Adam Yates moved up to fifth in the general classification.

Roglic was expertly delivered to the finish after another supreme display by his Jumbo-Visma team but Pogacar again showed he will attempt to reduce the deficit at every opportunity.

The 21-year-old UAE Team Emirates rider kicked clear late on to take his second stage win of the Tour and 10 bonus seconds, with Roglic second and Richie Porte in third.

“Jumbo-Visma set a really high pace all day and it made it a really difficult stage so I was just waiting for the sprint at the end and I’m so happy to win again,” said Pogacar.

“The plan is to win the Tour de France. Primoz Roglic seems unstoppable but today Bernal cracked and maybe one day myself or Primoz will crack – there are still a lot of opportunities ahead.”

Pogacar, who lost over a minute after being caught out by the crosswinds on stage seven, will have to attack from further out in the final week to overhaul Roglic, which will be tough given the strength of Jumbo-Visma.

Belgian all-rounder Wout van Aert, who has won two bunch sprints in this year’s Tour, drove the group of favourites for the first 8km of the 17.4km final climb and set such a high pace he dropped Grand Tour winners Bernal and Nairo Quintana.

Former Giro d’Italia champion Tom Dumoulin then reeled in an attack by Yates at 6km to go and led the main group all the way into the final kilometre before Roglic attacked.

Porte, Pogacar and Miguel Angel Lopez were the only riders able to react before Pogacar prevailed in a repeat of the Slovenian one-two on stage nine.

But despite being beaten again, this was another strong showing by Roglic, who will be confident his team can control the rest of the race.

Yates also rode well to finish eighth and is now just 29 seconds off the podium entering the final week.

Jumbo’s strength was in marked contrast to Ineos Grenadiers, who have won seven of the past eight Tours as Team Sky and Team Ineos.

All of Bernal’s support riders except Michal Kwiatkowski and Jonathan Castroviejo were dropped early on before the Colombian, who came into the race still recovering from a back injury, also began to slip back and rapidly lose time.

The 23-year-old is now eight minutes 25 seconds down on Roglic and Ineos have no back-up option, with deputy leader Richard Carapaz over 30 minutes down.

While four-time Tour winner Chris Froome looks to still be working his way back to top form, Ineos’ decision not to select 2018 champion Geraint Thomas will come under scrutiny again.

The Welshman, who is now targeting this year’s Giro in October, is currently third overall heading into the final stage of Tirreno-Adriatico on Monday.

In a frantic start to stage 15, Sam Bennett managed to prevent green jersey rival Peter Sagan going up the road before beating him at the intermediate sprint to extend his lead in that competition to 45 points.

After a rest day on Monday, the race resumes with a rolling 164km route from La Tour-du-Pin to Villard-de-Lans on Tuesday.

Stage 15 result

1. Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE Team Emirates) 4hrs 34mins 13secs

2. Primoz Roglic (Slo/Jumbo-Visma) Same time

3. Richie Porte (Aus/Trek-Segafredo) +5secs

4. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col/Astana) +8secs

5. Enric Mas (Spa/Movistar) +15secs

6. Sepp Kuss (US/Jumbo-Visma) Same time

7. Mikel Landa (Spa/Bahrain McLaren)

8. Adam Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott)

9. Rigoberto Uran (Col/EF Pro Cycling) +18secs

10. Alejandro Valverde (Spa/Movistar) +24secs

General classification after stage 15

1. Primoz Roglic (Slo/Jumbo-Visma) 65hrs 37mins 07secs

2. Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE Team Emirates) +40secs

3. Rigoberto Uran (Col/EF Pro Cycling) +1mins 34secs

4. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col/Astana) +1mins 45secs

5. Adam Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott) +2mins 03secs

6. Richie Porte (Aus/Trek-Segafredo) +2mins 13secs

7. Mikel Landa (Spa/Bahrain McLaren) +2mins 16secs

8. Enric Mas (Spa/Movistar) +3mins 15secs

9. Nairo Quintana (Col/Arkea-Samsic) +5mins 08secs

10. Tom Dumoulin (Ned/Jumbo-Visma) +5mins 12secs

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