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Mas poised to make move on final day of Tour de France in Alps

Movistar’s Enric Mas fights his way to the finish of stage 17 of the 2020 Tour de France on the Col de la Loze
Movistar’s Enric Mas fights his way to the finish of stage 17 of the 2020 Tour de France on the Col de la Loze (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Movistar's Enric Mas was able to retain his eighth place overall on stage 17 of the Tour de France, which finished on the Col de la Loze on Wednesday

The Spanish climber is now looking forward to attempting to make a move on stage 18 on Thursday – the race's final day in the Alps – and says that Wednesday's stage winner Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) has proved that race leader Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) and second-placed Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) "are not unbeatable".

Mas broke into the top 10 for the first time at this year's Tour following stage 13's summit finish on the Puy Mary last week. He then took fifth place on stage 15 on Sunday, which finished on the Grand Colombier, moving him up to eighth overall, which he's defended ever since.

"I won't deny that I'm feeling happy about my performance, yet it's true that I would have liked to have finished a bit closer to the top contenders because I was feeling great until the last three kilometres," Mas said.

Mas finished sixth on the Col de la Loze on stage 17, and is still one place behind Mikel Landa (Bahrain McLaren) overall, although he was able to pull back eight seconds on his Spanish compatriot, and is now 51 seconds off Landa's seventh place. 

Ninth-placed Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma) doesn't appear to be too much of a threat, more than three minutes back, although the Dutchman is likely to make up quite a bit of time on Saturday's individual time trial to La Planche des Belles Filles, and will start as one of the favourites for the stage victory.

"Maybe the altitude was taking its toll, too, but it's just down to the rivals being stronger," admitted Mas of the 2,302-metre-high Col de la Loze. 

"The pace during the entire Tour – always full gas – pays on finishes like this one. It's been a brutal race, and all that wear and tear, as we enter the third week, creates these gaps by itself.

"We finished one by one, and everybody was dead tired. In our case, as a team, we have been steadily progressing throughout the race. Our preparations were focused on reaching our top condition at this stage of the Tour, and so here we are.

"Three or four weeks ago we were at the Dauphiné, and we didn't think we would be here in eighth place overall, close to the top five," said Mas, who finished off the pace in 20th place overall at the Tour preparation race last month.

"Let's keep pushing. There's another great stage that could see more time gaps tomorrow, and Lopez has shown that the Slovenians are not unbeatable," the 25-year-old said, looking ahead to Thursday's stage 18, while referring to Lopez having been able to beat Slovenians Roglic and Pogacar on Wednesday. 

"It will be another crucial day tomorrow."

Movistar teammate Alejandro Valverde, meanwhile, finished 12th on the stage to the Col de la Loze, and has moved into the top 10 for the first time at this year's race. 

The 40-year-old could yet match his ninth place overall from last year's Tour, although he's unlikely to match his best Tour finish of third at the 2015 race.

The Movistar squad lost time but managed to keep its lead in the teams classification on Wednesday, with a 30-minute buffer back to Roglic's Jumbo-Visma squad.