Miguel Ángel López was emotional at the finish of stage 17 of the Tour de France, after a huge stage victory on the Col de la Loze,
The Astana rider was proved himself strongest against his general classification rivals after a brutal day of climbing, taking stage honours on his Tour debut.
Lopez rode away from Primož Roglič and Tadej Pogačar in the final 3km on the steepest gradients of the new climb, a move that also catapulted the Colombian into third place overall.
Speaking after the stage, Lopez said: “I’m really happy. Theres a lot of emotion involved. “We’ve been working really hard to achieve this and it wasn’t easy to get there so I feel a lot of emotion at the moment.
“We’ve been working incredibly hard to try and get to this point. I’ve been working really hard throughout lockdown and I’ve been doing a lot of home parenting as well, so to get to this point is amazing.”
With two huge climbs to tackle on stage 17, including the Col de la Madeleine and the Loze, it was a day for the GC contenders to fight for the stage and try to find cracks in the armour of race leader Roglič.
Holding strong against the pace set by Bahrain-McLaren on the final climb, Lopez found his opportunity when Roglič and Pogačar began to mark each other in final few kilometres.
Jumping away as the summit approached, 2300 metres up, Lopez rode to the line 15 seconds ahead of Roglič.
Lopez said: “I’m thinking about my wife and my son. It’s really hard to be a long way away from them but it’s my job but I think about my family all the time.
“I would need at least a minute over Pogačar and Roglič in the time trial. For now, it would be better to enjoy what we already have.”