Primoz Roglic maintained the overall lead in the Tour de France on Tuesday with eyes now nervously turning to the high altitude showdown awaiting the elite on Wednesday’s high altitude Meribel climb. Bora-hansgrohe’s German all-rounder Lennard Kamna won stage 16 after the Tour’s first large escape group used to be allowed to receive absent over some medium mountains. Kamna came good on the 164-kilometre run through the Alps by defeating Ineos rider Richard Carapaz over the last stretch after the twosome had been a part of the escape group.
The victory used to be just reward for the 24-year-old who used to be pipped to the line on the Puy Mary volcano final week. It used to be his first Tour de France stage win, and Bora’s first this year.
“I saw Carapaz wasn’t feeling too good and I went all in and it worked out,” said Kamna, also a talented time-triallist who may have a big future.
“I used to be so disappointed on the Puy Mary, but this puts that at the back of me.”
Nearly 17 minutes back, in a region dotted with ski resorts, the yellow jersey group ascended along side only Tadej Pogacar trying to upset Roglic and his Jumbo-Visma teammates.
Colombia’s Miguel Angel Lopez powered past them far and wide the last 200m but used to be followed closely over the line with no change at the top except for for Nairo Quintana losing a little time.
Roglic leads Pogacar by 40 seconds with five stages remaining. Rigoberto Uran is third at 1min 34sec, while Lopez and Briton Adam Yates round out the top five.
Ineos sent two riders in the breakaway, Carapaz and Pavel Sivakov, the twosome who had been supposed to help their leader on the summits, but either one of whom fell on day one.
The British team’s captain Egan Bernal suffered a shocking meltdown on Sunday and fell out of contention.
Showing depth of character the 23-year-old Colombian made himself freely to be had to the media correct after his defeat, and here the defeated champion rode with a smile on his face again.
Slovenian twosome Roglic and his rival Pogacar are now the major focus of attention on an bizarre Tour where Jumbo have knocked Ineos off their perch as the dominant team.
“Everything used to be under regulate,” said the 30-year-old Roglic, who once again had a posse with him the entire way to the finish line.
“But the next day will be nicer to watch. It is the queen stage, the highest point, loopy tough the last five kilometres. It will be a fight for each and every second,” said the former ski jumper who has emerged as the most powerful athlete in Tour cycling over the last three years.
Wednesday’s stage 17 leaves the Alpine city of Grenoble, passes the Tour stalwart Col de la Madeleine’s 17km winding Road and culminates on the Meribel mountain.
The new section only recently opened makes its debut on the Tour de France with parts at 20 percent incline and will leave some gasping in the rarefied air way above the treeline at 2,304m altitude.
The designer of this Tour route, Thierry Gouvenou said the difficulty lay in the last high altitude section.
“There are over seven kilometres over the 2,000m mark and it is going to be for the lighter men with various kick,” he said.
The type of enormous crowds which gather for raucous two-day parties at these high mountain showdowns is also calmer than usual, as no vehicles are allowed in the higher reaches at all.
Earlier Tuesday, Tour de France organisers were in exultant temper when announcing that every one of their cyclists were negative for Covid-19 in the last round of tests.
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