Kwiatkowski lifts Team Ineos with first stage win

Ross Houston
September 18, 2020

That's the Tour de France.

"I had the best legs ever, the way we rode together with Richard was just incredible", said Kwiatkowski, a former world champion.

Slovenian rider Primoz Roglic leads the Tour, riding for the Jumbo team that has eclipsed Ineos this year. That only added to the emotions for the popular Kwiatkowski, who has sacrificed his considerable talents in the service of others for several years but got his reward here.

Pogacar, a 21-year-old Tour rookie, will have another chance to unsettle Roglic during Wednesday's Stage 17 - arguably the toughest - featuring the Col de La Madeleine and the Col de La Loze, the highest point this year at 2,304 metres. I can't describe how grateful I am to the whole team and also to Richard.

"I managed to relax, everything went fine, another good day for us", Roglic said, as he grows into the role of leader which seemed to weigh on him when he took the lead in the first week.

"I've had some nice moments in cycling but that was a new experience". The rider did two attacks in the last kilometres and the latter gave him a gap big enough to cross the finish line on his own.

"We put on some show today and we deserve a big celebration".

Carapaz, victor of last year's Giro d'Italia, led Kwiatkowski over today's final climb, the Hors-Categorie Montée du Plateau des Glières, picking up 20 points to overhaul Pogacar in the leadership of the mountains classification.

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The contest for the polka dot jersey could have been closer still had Team Sunweb's Marc Hirschi, also in the break and who led Carapaz over the day's first two categorised climbs, not crashed on the descent of the Col des Saisies.

Kwiatkowski said Carapaz offered to hand him the win as he was going to take the polka dot jersey for the mountains classification.

"It's been two hard days in a row", Roglic said. The latest screening around the race's second rest day was the fourth since the beginning of the Tour, and the last one before the peloton reaches the Champs Élysées on Sunday.

"I've been thinking about the time trial, I'll make the decision how I play it on the day", he said looking to Saturday's decider. "It's far from being really safe".

Stage 17 solo victor Miguel Angel Lopez of Colombia is still third 1min 27sec off the lead but is less of a time-trialler than his rivals.

However, Adam Yates lost touch with the yellow jersey group on the final climb and lost two places, dropping back to seventh overall as Spanish duo Mikel Landa and Enric Mas moved up to fifth and sixth respectively. "We held on as long as we could, we lost some time but we're still in the top 10 on GC".

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