Bennett tightens grip on green with superb stage 19

Primoz Roglic and Tadej Pogacar finish stage 15 of the Tour de France

Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme will be back on the race on Tuesday after testing negative for coronavirus, organisers told Reuters on Monday. For his team and race leader Primož Roglic, he could not have done any better.

However, his compatriot Lopez produced a superb ride to accelerate away from Sepp Kuss on the Col de la Loze, which is the third-highest finish location of a Tour de France stage.

He crossed that off his to-do list with victory on Stage 10.

While Lopez was riding to his first Tour stage win, all eyes were on the race behind as Roglic and Pogacar went toe-to-toe on sections of the climb that reared up to a gradient of 24%. Roglic followed in fourth with Pogacar fifth.

This was not the case for Deceuninck-Quick Step sprinter Bennett, however, who fended off the seven-time green jersey Sagan in their close-run contest over the remaining sprint points. "All day, we rode where we had to be and we were in constant control". We did that well, and we were still well represented in the end.

Pogacar led the peloton over the Madeleine and added the king of the mountain's polka dot jersey to his best young rider's white jersey, but his odds of upgrading to yellow before Paris lengthened by the end of the day. We keep focusing on ourselves and we have to be ready if something unexpected happens in tomorrow's stage.

"Today was the most unsafe day, it was a critical day". Dumoulin and Kuss, too, played a key role in getting Roglic to the finish in ideal position.

"Obviously having had the time off from the Dauphine last year and through the corona situation this year, I've been very light on racing", he said.

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"On this climb, every metre counts".

Mikel Landa's Bahrain-McLaren team had worked hard to set the pace, but the Spaniard dropped back before Lopez struck out for glory soon after Carapaz had been passed.

"Wout is really incredible".

"That's why I went for it today". I then did a leadout for Wout.

"I don't think the job is done". "I have the greatest respect for this race and I'm already looking forward to coming back in the years ahead". "I've been dreaming of this for a long time, didn't lose the faith and continued fighting day by day".

Jumbo's assistant manager Merijn Zeeman will not be there for Roglic.

Froome saw the Tirreno-Adriatico as the "ideal race" with a mix of flat, mountain stages and a final time-trial.

The battle for yellow will now be settled in Saturday's time trial on La Planche des Belles Filles, but Friday was about the fight for green as Sagan looked to capitalise on an opportunity to dent Bennett's advantage. 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.

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