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Miguel Ángel López soloed the final 10km of the Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge, to stamp his authority on the Giant of Provence.
Taking on two ascents of Ventoux, “Superman” López dropped the hammer with 10km to go, distancing himself from a reduced group that had brought back the day’s break.
Mont Ventoux will feature again this year in the Tour de France, for the first time since 2016 — when Chris Froome was forced to run across the finish line with his bike on his shoulder.
Quentin Pacher (B&B Hotels) and Roger Adrià (Kern Pharma) had been off the front were off the front with 2 minutes at 20km to go.
This lead was steadily chopped back before the second of two ascents of Ventoux. Once onto the climb, Pacher dropped Adrià at 20km to go.
Movistar and AG2R-Citröen brought their favored riders to the front when the chasing bunch hit the 20km banner.
By 15km to go, the two-minute lead Pacher had established dwindled to one minute, and by 13km to go with Adrià already having been passed, Pacher was in the sights of his pursuers.
Kenny Ellisonde (Trek-Segafredo) looked to be somewhat comfortable with 13km to go and launched an attack that was covered by Ben O’Connor (AG2R-Citröen).
This move proved to be detrimental, and he would not be able to hold pace with the explosive counter move launched by López.
López brought Pacher to just 15 seconds in less than 1km before blowing by the fading French rider from B&B Hotels.
Five chased after López: O’Connor, Carlos Verona (Movistar Team), and Enric Mas (Movistar), Christian Rogriguez (Total Direct Énergie), and Oscar Rodriguez (Astana-Premier Tech).
“Superman” got a 60-second gap inside of 10km to go and continued to extend this gap as he soared toward the top of the climb for the second time.
Summitting, López had gained nearly two-and-a-half minutes in just 10km of road. His teammate Mas sat on Oscar Rodríguez’s wheel in the final 3km and sat up when Rodríguez made a surge for the line in the final, very steep 50m.
Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge Results
- Miguel Ángel López (Movistar Team), 4:30:04
- Oscar Rodríguez (Astana-Premier Tech), at 2:26
- Enric Mas (Movistar Team), at 2:33
- Ben O’Connor (AG2R-Citröen), at 3:30
- Cristián Rodríguez (Total Direct Énergie), at 3:30
- Kenny Ellisonde (Trek-Segafredo), at 4:02
- Michael Ries (Trek-Segafredo), at 4:45
- Simon Carr (EF Education-Nippo), at 5:41
- Carlos Verona (Movistar Team), at 5:48
- Geoffrey Bouchard (Astana-Premier Tech), at 6:10