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Tour de France. Stage 9. Miguel Angel Lopez is 9th in GC before first rest day

The first week of the Tour de France ended today with a demanding stage 9 in the Pyrenees. The riders passed 153 km from Pau to Laruns with 4 categorized climbs, including a very tough and steep Côte de Marie Blanque. 

The race started with a lot of attacks as many riders tried to go in a breakaway. Astana Pro Team was also very active: Alexey Lutsenko, Ion and Gorka Izagirre and Omar Fraile all tried to break away. 

Finally, a group of riders went away on the slopes of the first category climb Col de la Hourcère with Omar Fraile among the escapers. However, just one rider was able to continue his journey in the break, while all other have been caught back by the main group: the Swiss rider Marc Hirschi took a good gap after his solo attack.

A big selection has been done in the group of GC contenders on the hardest part of Côte de Marie Blanque as four riders, Primoz Roglic, Tadej Pogacar, Mikel Landa and Egan Bernal opened a gap over their rivals. They caught back the solo leader Hirschi to play the stage victory in a sprint, won by Pogacar.

Astana’s captain Miguel Angel Lopez remained in the group of the yellow jersey. Supported by Ion Izagirre, the leader of Astana Pro Team chased hard the group of Roglic, but in the end of the day finished 54 seconds behind. 

- The stage was really fast and hard and at the last climb I was a bit on the limit. But I was lucky to have Ion Izagirre next to me and together with Movistar we organized a good work in our group. So, I want to thank Ion for a great support today as he pushed hard in front of our group from the top of the climb to the finish line. I lost almost one minute, but in the same time it is just a minute in the general classification with still two weeks and many hard stages to go. It is nice to have tomorrow a rest day to recover a bit after nine tough days, - said Miguel Angel Lopez.

- It was not our best day at the Tour, but in the end of the day we did not lose that much. It was a hard stage and the last climb was really tough. With a very high pace of the group Miguel lost a bit his own rhythm, however, he was able to minimize the loses, finishing just 54 seconds behind the leaders. Ion Izagirre did today an excellent job and provided Miguel a great support at the last 20 km. In general, we had a good first week, we won a stage, we had an impressive day with the cross winds, but sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, that’s normal. We are still in game and with two full weeks of racing we are looking forward to keep of fighting at this Tour de France, - said Dmitriy Fofonov, sports manager of Astana Pro Team.

In the general classification of the Tour de France Primoz Roglic became the new race leader, taking the yellow jersey. Miguel Angel Lopez in 9th in the overall standings ahead of the first rest day, +1.15 behind the leader.

Photo credit: © Getty Images

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