• The leading group of riders at the end of Stage 17 of the 2020 Tour de France. (Velo)Source: Velo
Here are the rider reactions after finishing the queen stage of this year's Tour which saw them take on the Col de La Madeleine and Col de La Loze, pushing their bodies to the limit.
By
SBS Cycling Central

17 Sep 2020 - 8:50 AM 

Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Pro Team) - Stage winner, third in GC

"I’m really happy and very emotional. We worked really hard for this and it wasn’t easy to get there. I’m emotional."

"It’s amazing, this is for my wife and son. It’s hard being a long way away from them but this is my job. But I think of them all the time."

Superman Lopez soars to victory on Tour's highest peak
Miguel Ángel López flew to victory on the highest point of the 2020 Tour de France, attacking three kilometres from the summit as behind him Primož Roglič finally gapped Tadej Pogačar. Australian Richie Porte hung tough to now sit fourth overall behind López.

"We were confident because we knew the terrain suited us. It was over 2000 metres of altitude, like being at home (Colombia) and so it was an opportunity for me, so we fought for this stage."

Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) - Second in GC, third on Stage

"I'm happy with my performance, it was a really tough day. Bahrain (McLaren) did a really fast tempo on the Madeleine, and on Col de la Loze the race just exploded in the final few kilometres. In that hard finale I'm happy to not lose more time. It's still reachable - tomorrow is another hard day. We'll see what we can do but I think we can be happy with how we rode so far. We will fight to the end."

Advantage Roglič over Pogačar in battle for yellow
The summit finish of the Col de la Loze on Stage 17 of the Tour de France was as hard as expected, with the steep slopes and altitude coming into play as Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) duelled it out for the yellow jersey.

"It was just that steep sections then flat sections, that was really hard for me today. Also it was at altitude - one of the hardest final I've ever done." 

"(Riding for mountain classification points) I saw that on Madeleine there were 10 points for free so I went there and then I also got many points -  if I'm in the grasp to take it I will take it. I'm happy to have two jerseys now. The objective is still the general classification, If I can't take yellow, I can take this." 

Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) - First in GC, Second on Stage 

"I don’t think the job is done. There are still some hard stages to come and Tadej Pogačar 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."

"Am I happy with the gap I have over Pogačar? Well… It’s never enough gap! You know, when you have something, you always want more. But I was happy with the position I was in before the stage, and now I’m even happier. I’m glad this stage is behind us."

"Sepp Kuss and I talked during the climb and we decided he could go and try to win the stage, as he could always drop back and help me. Also, the other tried to chase him back and it helped me realise many guys around me were struggling."

"Sepp’s attack pointed me when to attack myself. On this climb, every metre counts. Having his help was really good. Again, it has been a very big performance from him and the team."

Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) - Fourth on Stage

"We excepted maybe some team to ride today, either for the stage or to make it hard for others trying to get on the podium. Bahrain (McLaren) did a really strong pace. They rode super the first 10 to 15 kilometres of this last climb. They were going really fast, so hats off to them, but on this last climb here it was just a total leg-breaker."

"I was riding on the front and accelerated over the top on one of the [flatter] transitions. I looked back and nobody was behind me actually. All of a sudden Lopez came across and I tried to stay with him but he was going really strong. At that point when I knew I was over the limit, I backed off and tried to pace Primož (Roglič) a little bit, accelerated with him. Yeah, it was good."

Adam Yates (Mitcheltonn-SCOTT) - Eighth on Stage, fifth in GC

"One of the first climbs we've really been at altitude so yeah, a tough day. I hung in there as long as I could, so I can be happy with that."

"Once we got into the last 7 kilometres we actually went pretty easy for the first bit. I think everyone was kind of saying they didn't know what to expect and then it was UAE (Team Emirates) started riding with a hard pace. From then on it was every man for themselves and I just hung on for as long as I could and yeah, I had a go, I guess."

"We got a big stage tomorrow, similar altitude (in) metres so it's going to be a really tough day. After that all we've got is the TT, so one big day in the mountains and one day all by myself, so we'll keep going. Hopefully tomorrow I'll have good legs and just keep trying." 

Damiano Caruso (Bahrain-Maclaren) - 13th on Stage

"It’s a terrible, terrible climb because the gradient keeps changing."  

"I saw a really strong team. We showed we’re a team. We went deep but we don’t have any regrets. If you don’t try, you never know. We gave our all and so we’ve no regrets. (Mikel) Landa didn’t collapse, he gave his all and so that's OK." 

"I felt good until the finale but these steep gradients are too much even for me."

The 2020 Tour de France continues with Stage 18, last drinks for the contenders before the final individual time trial. On this 167km Alpine stage, riders face 4,000m of vertical gain. Watch Stage 18 via the SBS ŠKODA Tour Tracker from 7:55pm (AEST) on Thursday, 8:05pm (AEST) on SBS On Demand, or tune into the television broadcast from 9:30pm (AEST) on SBS.