Miguel Angel Lopez wins Tour de France queen stage; Primoz Roglic ups lead

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MERIBEL, France — Colombian rider Miguel Angel Lopez won the toughest mountain stage of this year’s Tour de France, while race leader Primož Roglic added a few crucial seconds to his advantage over rival Tadej Pogacar.

Roglic finished 15 seconds behind Lopez in second place, while Pogacar trudged over the line 30 seconds behind Lopez in third.

The 170-kilometer (105.4-mile) trek’s final ascent to the Méribel ski station was the high point of this year’s race at 2,304 meters, winding up a Loze pass never before ridden and with tortuous gradients of 24%.

Lopez timed his attack perfectly with just under 3 kilometers to go while Roglic accelerated away from Pogacar, who clawed some of the gap back but may have bid farewell to his chances of winning the Tour.

Roglic is 57 seconds ahead of Pogacar with four stages remaining. Lopez overtook Rigoberto Urán to move up to third overall and is 1 minute, 26 seconds behind Roglic heading into another testing mountain stage on Thursday. Urán dropped to sixth.

TOUR DE FRANCE: Standings | TV, Stream Schedule | Stage By Stage

As riders tackled the steepest section of the Loze, where tarmac was laid last year on a mountain path which is only open to bikes, Pogacar increased the pace with about four kilometers left while Roglič tucked behind him and Uran was dropped.

Lopez then attacked and went after Richard Carapaz, one of five riders who had formed an early breakaway group and the last to be caught with 3 kilometers remaining.

With Lopez surging ahead, Roglič attacked his Slovenian countryman Pogacar, who responded well near the end to limit the damage.

French President Emmanuel Macron was on hand to applaud Lopez when he crossed the finish line after 4 hours, 49 minutes and 8 seconds of a grueling trek which featured two of the hardest climbs known as Hors Categorie, or beyond category.

Earlier, Macron had been a keen spectator in race director Christian Prudhomme’s red car, and as the camera pointed at them they were seen applying hand sanitizing gel. Prudhomme recently returned to the race following a period in isolation after testing positive for the coronavirus.

The others in the early breakaway group were Julian Alaphilippe, Dan Martin, Gorka Izagirre and Lennard Kämna, the winner of Tuesday’s stage with a solo effort.

They upped the tempo as they passed the stunning Château de Miolans, a fortress perched on a hilltop which the Counts of Savoy turned into a prison that French nobleman the Marquis de Sade escaped from in the late 18th century.

By the time they reached the foot of the Madeleine pass — the first of the day’s two HC climbs — they were about six minutes up on the yellow jersey group. The Madeleine is one of the most famed on the Tour and the second-highest summit on this year’s race at 2,000 meters.

When they reached the top after an ascent of 17.1 kilometers (10.6 miles) their lead over the yellow jersey group had been whittled down to 1:15.

Sam Bennett kept the green jersey for best sprinter but Benoit Cosnefroy faded early in the final ascent and lost his best climber’s polka-dot jersey to Pogacar.

Defending champion Egan Bernal pulled out before Wednesday’s stage. The Colombian had been struggling since Friday’s stage in the Jura mountains, where he dropped more than seven minutes on the main contenders.

Stage 18 from Méribel is 175 kilometers (108.5 miles) long and another demanding one with an early Category 1 climb, followed by another one up the Aravis pass and the Hors Categorie Plateau des Glières before an undulating descent to La Roche-sur-Foron.

MORE: How Roglic beat Luka Doncic in Slovenia

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Anna van der Breggen is first cyclist to sweep road world titles in 25 years

Anna van der Breggen
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Dutchwoman Anna van der Breggen added the road race crown to her time trial victory at the world road cycling championships, becoming the second rider in history to win both events at the same edition.

“This is, for me, pretty good so far,” she said.

Van der Breggen, the Rio Olympic road race champion, won after a solo attack with more than 25 miles left of an 89-mile course in Imola, Italy, on Saturday.

She prevailed after more than four hours of racing by 80 seconds over countrywoman Annemiek van Vleuten, the 2019 champion. Van Vleuten raced nine days after breaking her left wrist in a Giro Rosa crash.

Italian Elisa Longo Borghini took bronze in the same time as van Vleuten after losing a photo-finish sprint. Lauren Stephens was the top American in 11th.

Full results are here.

The race lacked American standout Chloé Dygert, who crashed out of the time trial while leading on Thursday and required leg surgery.

Van der Breggen joined Frenchwoman Jeannie Longo as the only male or female cyclists to sweep the time trial and road race at a single worlds. Longo did so in 1995 at age 36.

Van der Breggen, 30, said in May that she will retire after the 2021 Olympic season.

It will be the end of one of the great cycling careers. She is now a three-time world champion and nine-time world medalist to go along with her road race gold and time trial bronze in her Olympic debut in Rio.

Worlds conclude Sunday with the men’s road race. A TV and stream schedule is here.

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MORE: A more equal future for women’s cycling? Lizzie Deignan has high hopes

2020 French Open TV, live stream schedule

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Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams can each tie Grand Slam singles titles records at the French Open, with daily live coverage among NBC Sports, Peacock and Tennis Channel.

NBC coverage starts Sunday with first-round action at Roland Garros, its 38th straight year covering the event. Tennis Channel airs the majority of weekday coverage. Peacock, NBC Universal’s new streaming service, has middle weekend broadcasts.

All NBC TV coverage alo streams on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app.

Nadal is the primary men’s storyline, favored to tie Roger Federer‘s male record of 20 major titles and extend his own record of 12 French Open crowns. Federer is absent after knee operations earlier this year.

The Spaniard’s primary competition is top-ranked Novak Djokovic, the 2016 French Open champion whose only defeat in 2020 was a U.S. Open default for hitting a ball that struck a linesperson in the throat.

Williams bids again to match the overall Grand Slam singles mark of 24 held by Australian Margaret Court. Williams, a three-time French Open champion, lost in the third and fourth round the last two years and is coming off a U.S. Open semifinal exit.

The women’s field is led by 2018 champion Simona Halep but lacks defending champion Ash Barty of Australia, not traveling due to the coronavirus pandemic. Also out: U.S. Open winner Naomi Osaka, citing a sore hamstring and tight turnaround from prevailing in New York two weeks ago.

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MORE: How Jay-Z, Beyonce helped Naomi Osaka come out of her shell

French Open TV Schedule

Date Time (ET) Network Round
Sunday, Sept. 27 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel First Round
12-3 p.m. NBC
Monday, Sept. 28 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel First Round
Tuesday, Sept. 29 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel First Round
Wednesday, Sept. 30 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel Second Round
Thursday, Oct. 1 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel Second Round
Friday, Oct. 2 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel Third Round
Saturday, Oct. 3 5 a.m.-12 p.m. Tennis Channel Third Round
11 a.m. Peacock
Sunday, Oct. 4 5 a.m.-12 p.m. Tennis Channel Fourth Round
11 a.m. Peacock
Monday, Oct. 5 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel Fourth Round
11 a.m. Peacock
Tuesday, Oct. 6 6 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tennis Channel Quarterfinals
Wednesday, Oct. 7 6 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tennis Channel Quarterfinals
Thursday, Oct. 8 5 a.m.-2 p.m. Tennis Channel Women’s Semis
11 a.m. NBC, NBCSN
Friday, Oct. 9 5 a.m.-4 p.m. Tennis Channel Men’s Semis
11 a.m. NBC, NBCSN
Saturday, Oct. 10 9 a.m. NBC Women’s Final
Sunday, Oct. 11 9 a.m. NBC Men’s Final