Grenoble (AFP)

The Col de la Loze stands on the road to Primoz: Roglic, the yellow jersey, and all the riders of the Tour de France launched their assault, Wednesday in Grenoble, from the 17th stage towards the intimidating col de la Loze, unprecedented climb and summit of this Grande Boucle.

After the abandonment on Wednesday morning of the title holder Egan Bernal, out of the match for the coronation in Paris since the failure of the Colombian in the Grand Colombier, as well as that of the Swiss Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ), preserved for the Worlds where it will be lined up in the time trial, a peloton of 152 elements set off at 12:30 p.m. for the 170 km of the queen stage of this Tour de France.

After climbing the Col de la Madeleine halfway, the favorites have an appointment for an explanation never seen in the Col de la Loze: a climb to Méribel extended by a tar road laid on the mountain for 21, 5 km final climb at 7.8% average.

"Already the Madeleine, it's a beautiful piece. Getting to Méribel, it's another and to finish up to the Loze, it's very very hard", describes Thibaut Pinot, who recognized the stage in July when he hoped to play the leading roles in the Tour de France.

"The percentages, there is no need to comment on them. It is done by the leg (…). There are breaks in the slope that we do not see in other passes", analyzes the French climber who describes the rise as "atypical".

Its last four kilometers of slopes as irregular as they are frightening offer passages of more than 20%.

"When you see the profile, it's already incredible, and for having done it in recognition ... there may be a surprise, prognosis Julian Alaphilippe. With Tadej Pogacar or someone like that, who is really in good shape" .

Borrowed only once in competition, during the Tour de l'Avenir 2019, the Loze risks arbitrating the Slovenian Roglic-Pogacar duel.

Unless a Colombian, in his element at very high altitude, surprises them on arrival, perched at 2,304 meters and expected around 5:20 pm (average calculated at 35 km / h).

© 2020 AFP